ACS: Sierra Simpson, Lenoir-Rhyne University Women’s Basketball

Sierra Simpson
Lenoir-Rhyne Women’s Basketball
Hometown: Simpsonville, South Carolina
Education: Anderson University
Twitter: @coachsi_
Email: sierra.simpson [at]


The moment you first realized that you might like to make coaching part of your career.

I realized that I would like to make coaching part of my career towards the end of my sophomore year in college when I began helping out with middle school kids that were a part of my old AAU program. The opportunity to teach them the game, impact, and be a role model for them was a special feeling and after I finished helping that summer I became passionate about being a part of that profession.

Outside of mentors, talk about one way you’ve learned some aspect of coaching.

Podcasts. I love listening to various podcast of interviews and concepts that people share. I make notes of what I have listened to and try to figure out ways that I can use those ideas to better myself as a leader and coach. They are not always related to basketball either — sometimes the topics are on leadership, business, motivational, and spiritual. I really enjoy learning so I think it is great to pull from different areas and incorporate them into my profession and hopes that I will become well-rounded person, as well as a basketball coach.

If you could go back to your rookie coach self and give one piece of advice, what would it be?

Find the balance = family, work, life. When I first entered the coaching profession I was consumed with being a coach. I was so excited! I wanted to make sure my head coach knew I was all in and wanted to be a part of everything that I did not always balance family, school (I was working on my masters degree), and just life, like I should have or like I needed to. At times I still struggle with finding the balance but it has improved a great deal. I heard C. Vivian Stringer say once, “You are not going to be the best coach all the time, not the best daughter, sister, etc., but you have to accept it.” This is so true, there will always be things you wish you could have done better or went about in a different way but in the end you go through certain experiences that are going to teach you and help you grow into the person and/or coach you want to be.

What is your favorite memory from a coaching conference or clinic?

Just this past weekend I attended the Final Four in Columbus, and I had the privilege to hear Tara VanDerveer speak to a select group of us that were named to this years’ WBCA class of Thirty under 30 up-and-coming coaches in women’s basketball. During her presentation she talked about how “coaching is a crock pot”. Meaning, in this profession you have to love the process of learning and growing. Currently we live in a microwave culture where we want everything instantly but the reality is it does not work like that. As coaches and leaders there are always so many things for us to learn and improve upon that we have to be patient and passionate within that process and know that in the right timing if we do things the right way then what we desire will happen. So when it does, be ready!

Your dream lunch date. One coach. Any sport. Any level. Living or dead. Who is it?

Dawn Staley. I have always looked up to her and have been in awe of what she has been able to do as a player and a coach. She has impacted so many young people over the years. She is such an inspiration to a young coach like myself in this profession by the way she carries herself, her leadership, confidence and passion for developing young people on and off the court. As a native of South Carolina it has been so impressive to see what she has been able to do with the women’s basketball program at the University of South Carolina during her tenure. I would love to pick her brain about different aspects of her program and what the process has looked like over the years as she has built the program up to what it is today.

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