On the hardwood this year senior guard Taylor Ward emerged as the women’s basketball team’s undisputed floor general. Now that her career in Light Blue is over, she is looking to capitalize on her leadership experience and begin a career in coaching by participating in the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association’s “So You Want To Be A Coach” program.
The program takes place over the course of three days this wekeknd, and will be held in Nashville, Tenn., the site of the women’s Final Four this year. According to the program’s website, its aims are to help aspiring coaches learn “the skills necessary to secure coaching positions in women’s basketball” and to give participants a chance to network with coaches and administrators.
“It’s a great program for young women who want to be a coach and are thinking about getting into coaching,” Columbia head coach Stephanie Glance said. “The WBCA came up with this program quite a ways back and the young women who have gone through the program and gotten into coaching have been very complementary of the program.”
Glance, who served on the WBCA board and is very familiar with the highly selective program, said she was thrilled to see Ward get chosen. Though Glance and Ward have only spent one season together, Glance said she’s noticed that Ward possesses many of the qualities held by some of the sport’s great coaches, and added that the team’s assist leader has made a lot of progress in the past year.
“Taylor and I have a good relationship. In just a year we’ve really gotten to know each other. She’s been very receptive to coaching, to learning the game,” Glance said. “The difference in Taylor now from a year ago is pretty remarkable, just in her mentality. She’s gotten her confidence back. She has a renewed passion for the game.”
Ward also spoke positively about her relationship with Glance.
“She’s definitely been a mentor. She’s made a huge difference in my life,” Ward said. “And she’s someone I aspire to be like in the future as a coach and person.”
Glance has acknowledged that Ward has the natural tools to find success coaching. But she has also not shied away from making sure Ward knows about the unique challenges coaching brings.
“You have to be pretty flexible because jobs are competitive, and again, you have to be willing to live wherever and go wherever the jobs may be,” Glance said. “And once you’re on the job you may face 20 different things in a day that require 20 different skills.”
For now, Ward is looking to move into a coaching spot—preferably at Columbia, according to Ward—or perhaps land a graduate assistant position at another university. But ultimately, she has aspirations of making a name for herself at the high-school level.
“My ideal situation would be to coach high-school basketball and then also run my own basketball camp during the summer, and along with that, to also have my own AAU team,” she said.
Regardless of the level of basketball she coaches, Ward will bring a strong passion for the game.
“It’s been a part of my life ever since I could basically walk,” Ward said. “I love teaching and I really just want to make a difference.”