The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Women’s Basketball: Passion and competition for the game are what drives head coach Staci Schulz

Being a coach in sports is definitely not for everyone. Knowing the ins and outs of the game. Being able to fight through the tough times. Keeping that passion and competiveness alive. It’s not an easy job.

For Staci Schulz, head coach of the Northridge women’s basketball team, the love for the game and competition drove her to seek out a career that incorporated both.

Schulz, originally from Parkston, S.D., grew up in a town of about 1,500 people. Her graduating class of seniors was made up of 39 other students. To say the least, Schulz comes from a small town.

But it was in this small town that she learned how to play basketball. Schulz played various positions throughout her career at Parkston High School; something she feels benefited her greatly.

“I played a number of positions, which is probably the foundation of me becoming a coach,” Schulz said. “I even played point guard. Not a super quick point guard, but I could get the ball out.”

Then during her junior year at Mount Mary’s College in South Dakota, amidst a time when Schulz contemplated the course of her future, that she discovered coaching basketball was something she wanted to do seriously.

“One time there was a misunderstanding between me and my (college) coach,” Schulz said. “It was an intense conversation … it made our relationship stronger. It made me want to coach. There was a point where I wanted to quit school, but basketball kept me in.”

In the fall of 2002, an opening on the Northridge women’s basketball coaching staff became available, and Schulz, who was at the time an assistant coach at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, applied for the position and got the job.

Working under former CSUN head coach Tammy Holder, Schulz learned the ins and outs of the Northridge program. Then in 2005 Schulz was named the women’s basketball program’s 11th head coach.

“The transition to head coach was rather smooth,” Schulz said. “The change from the UNLV staff to this staff was easy…definitely a challenge, but I knew everyone around me and I knew how to do everything.”

Prior to coming to Northridge she held assistant coaching positions at her alma mater, Mount Mary’s College, Western Illinois and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Schulz’s career at CSUN has seen the ups and major downs of the women’s basketball team. And over the past couple seasons Schulz and the team have had to fight through the graduation of talented, dominant seniors while competition grew.

“During some of our unsuccessful seasons, keeping the players motivated to compete,” Schulz cited as of the most difficult things she’s had to deal with at CSUN. “During those times, you lose some of your fans.”

Schulz constantly encourages her players to keep competing, especially when times are rough, even if she has to bring out her not so serious side.

“She has goofy moments,” said Katrina “Train” Thompson, a senior who has played four years for Schulz. “Sometimes we’re like ‘Did she really just say that?’ They’re not the funniest jokes but they help when we’re having our dead moments.”

The word “compete” is one that Schulz keeps close to her heart, so much so that it is the first thing the players see when they walk into the locker room.

“(Being) in the heat of the moment,” Schulz said about her favorite thing about basketball. “Just competing. It’s kinda like being at war, it’s kinda fun.”

For Schulz drawing up plays at the last minute and having them work, along with getting a player to understand different parts of the game are what she loves most about coaching.

Coaching for the Northridge women’s basketball team is something Schulz definitely sees in her future.

“I love it here (CSUN)…I love the team we recruited, I want to see them through,” she said. “Leaving happens, but I don’t think about it too much…try to live in the moment.”

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