NAU Communications sat down with Cassie Schrader, coach of Coconino Girls’ varsity basketball, NAU alum and coach of the year winner. Read our questions and her answers below.
Q: Tell me about a significant childhood memory and how it has impacted your life today.
A: I’ll never forget when my dad decided to send me to NAU basketball camps beginning at age 4. I was always the smallest kid on the floor, and my camp shirt hardly fit. As I got older, I always idolized all of the men’s and women’s players and was so excited to spend a week at camp every summer. That really grew my love for basketball over time.
Q: What did you want to be when you grew up?
A: I was never the kid who dreamed of being a doctor, a pilot or a cop. I always saw myself being a professional sports player. I played sports my entire life, and at that point, I didn’t even care which sport I pursued! Then, as time went on, I wanted to be a PE teacher.
Q: What have you been most proud of this week?
A: I have never quite trusted myself to have a credit card in my possession, so I finally got one this week and I feel like a real adult because of it! That, and I’m on a streak of about 21 days in a row at the gym.
Q: What is your favorite way to spend a day off?
A: I usually spend my days off being as active as possible. I like to do a lengthy workout, walk my dog for a mile or two, and sometimes holding open gyms for my high school players. Lately, I’ve also been trying to support some of my basketball girls who play other sports like softball or sand volleyball whenever I don’t have to work.
Q: What are three things on your bucket list?
- Go to Disneyworld.
- Sit courtside at a WNBA or an NBA game.
- Rescue an older pup in need.
Q: What is your philosophy in life?
A: I have to say that I’m a realist at heart. By this, I mean I tend to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. But working with teenagers and being in a big position of leadership has made me really remember that not a single thing in life is given; it’s all earned.
Q: How do you define success?
A: I believe that success is achieved through growth. If there has been any improvement or growth, then I call that success. Success isn’t always measurable, but it is always noticeable.
Q: How does one become coach of the year?
A: If I’m being perfectly honest, I’m still trying to figure that out. The certain answer that I can provide is that one cannot do it alone. In my case, I have the most wonderful support system, and that is really driven by the young ladies that I coach and the individuals who coach with me. Every single one of them has their own part in making the head coach look good, so I take almost no credit in that area. Support and people who believe in someone are really what help someone become coach of the year.
Q: What is one piece of advice you like to share with the teams you coach?
A: Push yourself when things are difficult, because that’s when you figure out exactly what you’re made of as an individual and as a team. Growing pains are always going to be there, but they’re always going to be worth it.