In a recent interview, Brock Head Girls’ Basketball Coach Shawna Lavender answered questions about her playing days, as well as her time leading the Lady Eagles.
Question: Favorite memory as a player?
Answer: I have several I could throw out there, from being at the state tournament my junior and senior year in high school, to playing in the NCAA tournament in college, but really as a player my favorite memories are more about the relationships I made with my teammates and the life long friends I made, the time we spent together, not just on the court but off as well. Those teammates are family to me even now.
Q: Favorite memory as a coach?
A: I guess it’s kind of the same answer for me. From coaching in the state tournament my first year here at Brock, to coaching in the NCAA tournament, but really when I look back at my career as a coach, it’s about the relationships I built with those young ladies and watching them grow into strong, confident business women, mothers, wives and anything else they aspire to after basketball. I’ve been coaching long enough that I have former players who are really good friends now that I still keep in touch with. When I look back, it’s fun to think about all the different young ladies I’ve been able to come in contact with, develop relationships with and watch grow and mature.
Q: How do you celebrate a big win?
A: Just like any other win, being with friends and family and making sure the girls know how much you appreciate them and your coaching staff as well. Just being around those people who were a big part of some of those big wins.
Q: How do you move past a tough loss?
A: I probably do it a lot easier now than I used to when I was younger. I think I’ve gotten some more perspective now, in the big scheme of things, we’re all playing a game, and there are things that are a lot more important than wins and losses. Not that you can’t learn from them, but if you dwell on them too long, it affects the way you prepare for the next game, it affects the way you coach, it affects the way you approach your kids, and so I’ve learned to move forward and look at it as, how can we learn from this and get better without allowing it to have too much of a negative impact? It’s taken me a long time to move forward with some of those things, because I probably used to take it a lot harder than I do now.
Q: Most difficult position to play in basketball?
A: Well I’m always going to say point guard because that’s what I was. But I really do think it is one of the most difficult positions. I think they’re all difficult in their own way, but for me a point guard has to know what everybody is supposed to be doing, not just their own position. What offense and defense they’re supposed to be running. They’re the other coach on the floor.
Q: Biggest coaching inspiration?
A: It’s hard not to say John Wooden, just because the way he approached the game was from such a position of loving his players first and teaching them to do things the right way. Basketball was always second to him. And he didn’t just come in and start winning national championships, it was a process for him. But I think because he stuck to what he knew was important, which was those kids getting better as people, the basketball part fell into place.
Q: Favorite professional basketball team?
A: Probably my favorite professional team when I was growing up was the Lakers. Now it’s the Mavs. College-wise I always liked Duke, I know a lot of people didn’t like them back in the day when they had Christian Laettner and some of those guys, and I always liked Syracuse.
Q: Alternate sport to coach full-time?
A: Probably softball. I love softball and played it all through high school. That was probably my second love.
Q: Describe coaching in three words?
A: All about relationships.