News - 19 Years Coaching and Still Learning for the Girls

19 Years Coaching and Still Learning for the Girls

by Carla Morris 19 Years Coaching and Still Learning for the Girls

With 19 years of coaching behind her, what more can Carol Fletcher possibly learn about shaping skills and winning games?

Plenty, says the long time coach of middle school girls basketball in Roxana, Illinois.

This fall, Coach Fletcher, a student in Greenville University’s all-online master’s in coaching program will launch a new coaching season, mindful of influencing her girls in areas that she values—building their confidence and helping them cultivate respect for others as they have fun on the court.

Greenville’s master’s in coaching program, now beginning its sixth year, is helping Fletcher do just that.

Deepening Impact While Keeping the Fun

“Skill and character development are both important,” says the seasoned coach. “Knowing how to treat others can and will make a difference not only on the basketball court, but also in life.”

Part of the “new” for Coach Fletcher includes greater focus on building personal relationships, modeling character traits that will benefit her players, cultivating trust and making herself even more available to them.   

Keeping the game fun matters, too.Fletcher

“Because my players are pre-teen or teenagers, and they are going through so much in their lives and trying to figure out so many things, I would like them to think of basketball as being an escape from all those issues.”

A Program That Resonates With Parents, Administrators

Coach Fletcher’s reflections come on the heels of negative stories about youth sports that have gained media attention over the summer.

The master’s in coaching program at Greenville University covers character and faith development, an approach that resonates with parents and administrators, says Greenville’s Head Men’s Basketball Coach George Barber, also professor in the program. Barber speaks from 20 years’ experience engaging 1,500 youth from ages 8-18 in basketball camps each summer.

Public Schools, Personal Faith 

The spiritual side of coaching is nothing new. UCLA coaching legend John Wooden—often called the greatest coach of all time—acknowledged that he kept a Bible on his desktop and intentionally led by example based on Christ’s teaching.

Even when rules and policies disallow coaches from sharing an overtly Christian message, they can draw lessons from God’s Word that help athletes grow.

“I now see this is possible,” says Fletcher as she surveys the coaching landscape on the threshold of her twentieth year donning a whistle and huddling with players. Opportunities for skill and character development have already found a place on her coaching agenda.

Learn More

To learn more about Greenville University’s master’s in coaching program, email Shannan Bernico at, or call 618-664-6751.

You can help students view their work as worship and welcome the presence of the living Christ to fill, equip and send them. Give today.

This story was published on October 16, 2017

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