College basketball and motherhood come together in this podcast from Moms In Coaching, a WBCA-sponsored group for coaching moms. Join women’s basketball coaches Brooke Wyckoff (Florida State University) & Erika Lambert (Abilene Christian University) as they connect with women leaders in the business who are winning at home and on the court.
The Most 2020 Episode of 2020 | Vanessa Blair-Lewis, Bethune-Cookman
You don’t want to miss this sit down with Bethune-Cookman Women’s Basketball’s head coach, Vanessa Blair-Lewis. 2020 has thrown a lot at this mother of two young boys. Blair (6) & Bryce (2) are homeschooling this year. And Vanessa’s husband Eric Lewis, an NBA referee, was in the bubble officiating from early July through the duration of the pro season. When we recorded this episode, Eric was due to arrive home for the first time in three months. Vanessa had planned a brief girls’ getaway in order to decompress before getting back to the grind with her team.
And then, like so many other things in 2020, Bethune-Cookman’s ‘20-’21 season was cancelled.
We didn’t see that coming when we planned this podcast episode. So you’ll hear us chat with Vanessa about her workouts and COVID protocols in a way that was outdated just two weeks later. However, we also had a great discussion about women of color in coaching, Vanessa & Eric’s love story, what it looks like to be an “older” mom, and why Bethune-Cookman has been a great home for her for 13 years.
The Lady Wildcats program turnaround during Coach Blair’s tenure is impressive, to say the least. Vanessa is a 4x MEAC Coach of the Year. Over the last five seasons, she has led Bethune-Cookman to a 107-48, 68-12 record. Her teams have won four MEAC regular season titles and one MEAC tournament championship. She led the program to four postseason berths, including its first-ever NCAA Tournament in 2019.
1st Time Mom, New Baby, New Job | Emily Ragsdale, Grand Canyon University
We’re talking baby talk in this episode! Emily Ragsdale is a first-time mom to a newborn son, Avonté Bryant Thomas, who made his debut on August 21, 2020. While she was expecting, Emily made the move from the Midwest to Phoenix, AZ to join Molly Miller’s first-year coaching staff at Grand Canyon University. Her fiance, also a college basketball coach, has recently started a new gig as an assistant at nearby Ottawa University.
Emily played basketball at Judson University (NAIA) and her first season as an assistant coach was 2015-2016 at Aurora University (DIII), both in the greater Chicago area. She went on to serve as Coach Miller’s assistant at DII Drury University, where their program competed in the Elite Eight in 2019. Last season, Emily returned home to Chicago as the head coach at Roosevelt University. And now she’s jumped into her first year at the Division I level. When we interviewed Emily, she was already hard at work back in the office. We had fun catching up with her about all the newness a baby brings--sleep schedules, breastfeeding, childcare, etc. As moms in coaching, we love helping each other figure out how to make it all work! And Emily is off to a great start.
Welcome Home | Krista Gerlich, Texas Tech
Krista Gerlich has been Texas Tech’s head coach for a little over a month, and she feels right at home in her new position. This is Krista’s third stint in Lubbock. First, she played a Hall of Fame-worthy career there headlined by a National Championship in 1993. Second, she served as Marsha Sharp’s assistant coach from 2003-2006. And now, Krista has returned once more to lead the Red Raiders Women’s Basketball program. This is her 15th year as a head coach after seven seasons at West Texas A&M and seven at UT-Arlington. Krista left UT-A as the Mavericks’ all-time winningest women’s basketball coach.
Krista and her husband Bryan, former football player at Texas Tech, have two children. Bryn is a college junior and Brayden is a freshman...both at Tech! Needless to say, this is a special time for the Gerlich family. Many sacrifices and compromises were made during Krista & Bryan’s journey, but their family was always the top priority.
Wisdom From A Veteran Coach | Natasha Adair, Delaware
When Natasha Adair began her coaching career 20+ years ago, she never could have guessed her 2020 team would be sitting down with government officials in a fight for policy changes in policing. But earlier this summer, Tasha & her University of Delaware players met with both the state Attorney General and the Governor to petition for police reform. The team was part of a successful campaign for new legislation which went into effect in August. Delaware’s House Bill 350, among other things, bans the use of chokeholds by police. Tasha’s visionary Athletic Director, Chrissi Rawak (also a mom!), has been instrumental in supporting Delaware student-athletes’ efforts to achieve racial justice.
Tasha is entering her fourth year at the helm of the Blue Hens program after successful head coaching stints at Georgetown and the College of Charleston. In this episode, she shares about what’s on the horizon for her program in ‘20-’21, discusses her approach to leadership and describes her thought process as a “maternal coach.” Tasha’s love for her two children, Aaron (23) & Allyssa (15) is unmistakable! She is one proud and dedicated mama. We all stand to learn something from Tasha’s parenting advice, as well as her transparency about marriage and divorce. She’s a veteran coaching mom who has navigated the fast-paced, ever-changing world of college athletics, and her story will surely inspire you.
2 Middle Schoolers, 1 Kindergartener & A Baby | Taren Martin, UAB
It’s Back-To-School time in the Martin household! This week, we get an inside look at the daily life of this family of six. Taren Martin is entering her 8th season as the Associate Head Coach at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She and head coach Randy Norton have turned UAB into a top contender in the league, winning the program’s first ever Conference USA regular season title three years ago. Taren’s ‘19-’20 team finished 20-11, for its 3rd-straight 20-win season.
Taren and her husband, Patrick, have four children ranging in age from infant to almost-teenager. Her kindergarten son, Tyson, has special needs. With kids in different stages, a very competitive DI coaching job, and a husband who works as a school administrator, it would be easy to constantly feel pulled in different directions. But Taren’s mantra is to ‘Win The Day,’ one day at a time. She jokes that her win percentage in that category is subpar, but we strongly disagree. This coaching mom is a champ! Taren reminds us to be present where we are and to love our families on the court and our families at home, however imperfect that may look.
Two-Head Coach Household | Bethann Burke, Goldey Beacom
Can you imagine the (organized) chaos of being a head basketball coach & a parent...times TWO? That’s the everyday reality in the Burke household! Bethann Burke is beginning her eighth season as head women’s basketball coach at DII Goldey-Beacom College in Wilmington, DE. The other Coach Burke, Bethann’s husband Dan, leads the men’s basketball program at Wilmington University. Both programs compete in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference.
The Burke Family is rounded out by three year old Julianna, who can often be found in the gym cheering on both of her parents’ teams. In this episode, Bethann discusses what it’s like to be a DII coaching mom, married to a DII coaching dad, while also carrying out her responsibilities as GBC Assistant Athletic Director and Senior Women’s Administrator. She truly does it all!