Women’s basketball player, Mikala McGhee attends ‘So You Want To Be A Coach’ program to fulfill dreams


(EN Photo / Brad Young)

Coaches can impact their players, for good or bad, but for FGCU women’s basketball player, Mikala McGhee, past and present coaches have impacted her life so much that she hopes to do the same.

To turn this dream into a reality, McGhee applied for the “So You Want To Be A Coach” program and received the opportunity of a lifetime.

The redshirt senior was accepted into this WBCA program as one of just 50 student-athletes from across the nation.

“I am very honored and thankful to have this pick because it wasn’t just DI athletes they were looking at, it was all divisions from around the nation with a lot of women who applied and didn’t get it,” McGhee said. “When they brought us in for the first day, they said we were the ‘cream of the crop,’ so it was definitely an honor.”

The program assists female collegiate basketball players who are interested in pursuing a career in coaching women’s basketball.

It provides the players with professional development and career advancement through education, skills-enhancement, networking and exposure opportunities.

“We sat in on classes and learned the different aspects of coaching, what it takes to get into it, the difficulties behind it and the communication and networking of it,” McGhee said.

McGhee also mentioned that the program brought officials as well as coaches.

“They brought in officials, a variety of coaches from around the country and a lot of people working in the WBCA, so we got the administrative side too.”

The program also increased awareness about the availability of talented female basketball players who want to coach.

“I think one of the best things I got out of it was the networking with powerhouse coaches and other aspiring women who want to get into this field and make an impact on someone’s life,” McGhee said.

Yet, none of this would have even been possible without the consideration of assistant coach Jenna Cobb, who gave McGhee the idea to apply for the program.

Cobb was a former member herself and felt McGhee had the potential to be accepted into such an influential program.

“I felt through her experience and what she told me about the program, it would be a really good opportunity for me as well,” McGhee said.

All the coaches at FGCU have had an impact on McGhee, especially head coach Karl Smesko, who has impacted her as both a player and a person throughout her career as an Eagle.

“Coach Smesko is, I think, one of the best coaches in the country when it comes to teaching the game, but also taking what we’ve learned on the court and leading it back to our lives and how to be successful.”

Smesko has impacted McGhee so much that she hopes one day she can do the same.

“Coach Smesko has made me more interested in wanting to become a coach, just because I see how good of a coach he is,” said McGhee. “He is a good person, an amazing coach and someone I will look to for the rest of my life.”

A coach can truly change someone’s life and for McGhee, every coach she has played for or even talked to has made her want to become as influential as a person.

“This is a profession you can really get in and change people’s lives and that’s what I want to do,” McGhee said.