Compiled by Randy Whetstone Jr.
Donna Moir, athletic director at Sacred Heart Academy, has had the opportunity to witness 55 state titles and championships in SHA sports since 1991. In addition to her duties as athletic director, she is also the head coach for the girls’ basketball team.
As the head basketball coach, Moir became the first woman in the state to win the championship as a player (1976) and as a coach (2002, 2003 and 2004). In 2013, she was inducted into the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame.
Coach Moir has recently reflected on her wealth of experience, so she decided to share with us the top seven tips needed to be successful as a basketball coach.
1. Start Small
You cannot get to the top in one day, and frankly you do not want to. Start small by working with a youth team and teaching the fundamentals of the game. Volunteer with all levels of play. Be an assistant coach. Work your way up by learning how to teach a variety of players while also learning from a variety of coaches. Not only will this help you with the X’s and O’s, but it will also help with building relationships.
2. Find a Mentor
I was blessed to have an amazing mentor as a young coach, Bunny Daugherty. Without her, I never would be where I am today. Now, I continue to have mentors in a different kind of way; I have made connections with college coaches, high school coaches and coaches of other sports that I can lean on for advice. Having someone to go to (and) bounce ideas off of or to ask for advice is crucial to becoming a better coach and a better person.
3. Be Willing to do the Dirty Work
Every coaching staff or profession has a place for someone who works hard and is not afraid to do the things no one else will do. Clean the bleachers after a game, wash the jerseys, work fundraisers, stay late after practice to rebound for a player, break down the film, etc. Not only will doing these things set you apart from others, but it will also make you appreciate things more.
4. Study the Game
Watch games of all levels and while the game is going on, think about what changes you would make or how you would coach the game. Ask other coaches if you can watch their practices. Go online and search out new drills, plays and workouts. There is an abundance of information out there these days; you just have to find it!
5. Keep Things in Perspective
Don’t sweat every loss. Take what you can and learn from every defeat, but if you spend too much time thinking about yesterday’s game, you will forget about today. This can be hard to do because there are so many highs and lows on winning and losing. It is about the moments along the way, I tell kids (that) people do not remember how many points you score or rebounds you get; you make your memories.
6. Build a Resume and Coaching Notebook
Stay organized. Keep practice plans, plays, drills and other basketball necessities in a spot where you can always find them and look back on. Write everything down, whether it’s what happened in practice that day or a meeting you had with a player. Having information in writing allows you to know what happened that day way down the road.
I do not think you will see many more high school coaches like myself, Chris Souder, Randy Napier, Mike Harper, Dale Mabrey; people who have made coaching high school basketball our careers. I have enjoyed each and every day of being in the gym with my basketball teams.
7. Invest in the Kids
In the end, coaches are not doctors in the ER saving lives, but the best of coaches do indeed save and better lives. Treasure what your players do in the classroom as much as on the court. Help them find a college that fits their needs. Ask about their families and other hobbies. Don’t just treat them as players; treat them as people. Care about them and they will play hard for you. I take a lot of pride in seeing my players succeed off the court: going on to be coaches, moms, lawyers, judges, doctors, teachers, therapists, salespeople or whatever it is. I know they have learned about adversity, the value of hard work and being a good teammate. VT