I was once asked “What will you do today that will make you proud in a year?” Thinking about that question reminded me that everyday decisions do impact the long-term future of our beloved university. I am very blessed to be surrounded by so many strong, strategic, positive people who make daily decisions focused on producing long-term impacts for themselves, their peers, and the university.
It is in this spirit that I highlight one such group that makes daily decisions that result in longer-term success—our women’s basketball team. Recently Coach Jill DeVries shared with her team that she had heard a speaker talk about proactive coaching and leadership. In reflecting on the speaker’s remarks, she said “I could not help but think how lucky I am to have the group of student-athletes in our women’s basketball program that we do.”
The speaker outlined six choices that student-athletes make:
- Coachable Spirit
- Work Habits
- Mental Toughness
Coach DeVries said it was clear to her that these women demonstrated each of these traits, both and off the court. She told her team how proud she was not only of their athletic success but also of their academic success. Seven of the 13 team members earned a perfect 4.0 GPA (President’s Honor Roll), 9 were above a 3.5 GPA (Dean’s Honor Roll), 12 of 13 had above a 3.0 GPA and the 13th student-athlete was very close to a 3.0.
Many of these women also hold important leadership positions on campus such as members of Student Senate, orientation leaders, and Viking Ambassadors, to name just a few, not to mention holding jobs, serving in internships, and doing community service work. Coach DeVries declared that it is these women who give the VCSU women’s basketball program its wow factor: different, noticeable, and appealing. And finally she thanked them for having an uncommon commitment to excellence both on and off the court. Well said, Coach!
Clearly these women wake-up each morning knowing that they will make daily decisions based on long-term impact, decisions which they will be proud of in a year and probably for the rest of their lives.
I must, however, take exception to one of Coach DeVries’s comments. Coach DeVries is not just lucky. Okay, maybe as the saying goes, she works hard at being lucky. Regardless, she works hard to recruit women who have those six winning characteristics; with skilled execution, she creates a culture which amplifies those characteristics on and off of the court, and with great pride, she holds each team member up and celebrates how their daily decisions have long-term impact.
VCSU is filled with caring, dedicated people—like Coach Jill DeVries—who wake up each day and know exactly how to answer the question “What will you do today that will make you proud in a year?” And that is another reason why it is a great day to be a Viking!