Tonight I was honored to be the guest Coach for the Saint Louis University Lady Billikins who are in Division I Atlantic 10 Conference. We played Rhode Island which was undefeated in our conference this year and we won 64-50—BEARY exciting!!

In the Huddle with the coaches

Last year I met Coach Shimmy Gray and one of her players Lauren Woods and we bonded. While I am just 4’10” I have always loved to play basketball and also enjoyed being a spectator. I especially love college basketball and women’s basketball is even better! To see these amazing young women, so bright, beautiful and athletic compete is a thrill. Thank goodness for Title IX and all the benefits of equal access to sports for female athletes.

People are often surprised to hear I am such a basketball nut—well they have Coach Bruce Hale to thank for that. I grew up in Miami, Florida right next door to the basketball coach of the University of Miami. In those days there was no college basketball for women. Coach Hale was an outstanding coach on the court and off as ne mentored and encouraged his players to make the most of their academic and athletic life as a Miami Hurricane player. In his spare time he coached us neighborhood kids –girls and boys. Little did I know that the way he motivated us was by starting the net down low enough for us to be successful and then little by little raising it so we were never intimated by how far away it looked! Once you get used to the high of winning, it is addictive and you keep pressing on. That is how I have looked at goals ever since—not as intimidating but as a challenge and absolutely not out of reach with the proper level of practice!

Coach Gray is a similar kind of coach. She values the individual in each young woman but she knows they are capable of more and so she helps them see what is possible for themselves and helps encourage them. Her theme in the locker room tonight was to go for the big fight– with the big goal of winning. We had home court advantage but they were a very good team who I think may have come in a little cocky. I good coach doesn’t ever let their team get too sure of themselves. Of course, you have to believe you can do it, but not that it is a slam dunk 

In September Doris Hale (the Coach’s wife) was in town to celebrate her 90th birthday with my husband and me. On Sunday during her visit we went to SLU to see the Lady Billikins work out and get a tour of their facility. We had a great time. She too had a love for basketball as she was a high school player in San Francisco at Galileo High School in 1935. I called her tonight to tell her I had won one for Coach Hale ! Finally, I got to “play” college ball. I know Coach Hale was looking down on me and my team and cheering us on—after all he was the one who gave me my nickname—Tickety Taxi because I was always fast on the court. Thanks Coach Hale for all you taught me about sportsmanship, setting goals and hard work. Those principles have never let me down. Thank you Coach Gray for your faith in these young women and all you do for womens’ sports. You are my hero!!!

Hugs to all,


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  1. CourtneyMusicLuvr115 Says:

    That’s totally cool Maxine!!!!!!

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