By KAITLYN LOWRY
Graduating one basketball playing daughter, having one currently in the basketball program, and another on her way to high school, Abilene girls basketball Coach Janelle Geist has been busy coaching her girls. She also has coached at quite a few different schools, and even a few different sports, but believes she has found a home in the Abilene community.
I ask coach Geist for just a few minutes of her day to ask her some questions about herself so that the readers could gain some knowledge of the coach who sent the 2012-2013 girls’ basketball into winter break with an undefeated record, 6-0.
Where did you start your love for basketball?
I played basketball at Thomas More Prep-Marian High School in Hays, Kan. from 1980-1984.
Did you play basketball in college?
I played college basketball at St. Mary of the Plains College in Dodge City, Kan. The school closed down in 1990. Before and during the years that I played basketball there, the women’s team at SMPC was a dominant program in the KCAC. In our conference were Tabor, Kansas Weslyan, Bethany, Sterling, Friends, Ottawa and Bethel. We regularly played Emporia, Washburn and Fort Hays State. My senior year we even played (and lost) against Kansas State at Ahearn Fieldhouse.
I’m sure there is a lot to list, but what are your accomplishments from when you were an athlete?
- Msgr. Feldman’s Outstanding Senior Female Athlete, 1987-1988;
- Academic All-American, NAIA District 10, 1986-1987, 1987-1988;
- All-District 10 First Team basketball, 1986-1987, 1987-1988;
- All-KCAC First Team basketball, 1986-1987, 1987-1988;
- Most Valuable Player Saints basketball team, 1986-1987, 1987-1988;
- M-Club Female Athlete of the Year, 1986-1987, 1987-1988;
- Saints basketball team captain, 1986-1987, 1987-1988;
- Varsity basketball letter at St. Mary of the Plains College, 1984-88;
- All-MSAA League high school basketball team, 1982-1983, 1983-1984;
- All-Area Basketball Team, Hays Daily News, 1983-1984;
- Varsity basketball letter at TMP-MHS, 1981-1982, 1982-1983, 1983-1984.
What was your opinion on yourself when you played basketball throughout your life?
I wasn’t very athletic — I couldn’t run fast or jump very high. My strengths were that I was tall, smart and had a good work ethic.
Since we know, now, that you played basketball in college, did you do in other sports in college or even in high school?
WeIl, I played volleyball and did field events for track in high school. I only played basketball in college.
When did you first figure out you wanted to be a basketball coach and what made you decided basketball?
I am not really sure. I probably knew I wanted to teach and coach when I was in college.
Are there any other places you coached other than Abilene?
I volunteered for a graduate assistant at Central Missouri State University Women’s Basketball team, 1988-1989 and I also was coaches of the following:
- Varsity boys basketball at Bazine High School, 1991-1992, 1992-1993
- Junior high girls basketball coach at Bazine Junior High School, 1994-1997
- Junior high girls basketball coach at Bazine Junior High School, 1992-1997
- Freshmen girls basketball coach at AHS, 1997-2000
- MS 8th grade basketball coach at AMS, 2000-2002
- Junior Varsity Coach at AHS, 2003-2006
Basketball is obviously the sport you coach in Abilene, but when you were coaching at other schools, did you coach other sports as well?
When I was at Bazine Junior High and High School, I was the Junior High Girls Track Coach for five years.
What brought you to the Abilene basketball program?
My husband and I decided to move our family from western Kansas to an area with a more stable population and school enrollment. I first took a mathematics teaching job at AHS. There was a freshman girls’ job available at that time that I decided to take.
How long have you been in the Abilene basketball program?
I have been in the HS or MS program since I have been here — this is my 16th year.
Do you plan on staying with the program for a long while?
Yes, I do.
I know you have a few children that you have coached, if you could name them, when they graduated (if they have) and if they all played basketball.
Jessica - graduated in 2011; Courtney - junior; Morgan - 7th grader
Did you push your children to play basketball or any other sports?
We push our children to be active in sports. I think it is natural that they are most interested in the sport that their parents love. I think for Jessica and Courtney basketball was/is their favorite sport. But, they have enjoyed and were/are competitive in volleyball and track. Morgan doesn’t have a favorite sport, yet. She enjoys whatever sport she is playing at the time.
Is basketball a large part of your home life?
Yes, basketball and all sports are a large part of our home life.
We watch KU men’s basketball and some women’s basketball on TV. In the past we had season tickets to K-State Women’s basketball games. If I have former players playing in college or all-star games, I go watch them and my daughters or husband travel along. I don’t generally sit down with my daughters and watch game film with them. That is up to them just as it is my other players.
Coach Geist is happy to be where she is today. She has raised a family in the Abilene community. She was not born a Cowgirl nor was she an Abilene alumnus, but she is part of the Abilene family now, and so is the family has raised, they are all Cowgirls.