Let’s start from the beginning – Hanna Hall’s video about her struggle with anorexia. She talks about the origin of her illness and sets the stage for how it took over her training and life. The story is a good one, she’s brave to tell it and her University of Buffalo basketball coach, Felisha Legette-Jack, stepped in when Hanna needed help. That’s what struck me. Coach Jack noticed something wasn’t right and took action in time for Hanna’s college and basketball career to flourish. At the MAC tournament the past 2 years, I’ve watched her play at the Q Arena here in Cleveland and she’s a force even at 5’4”.
It is an honor that Coach Jack, such an incredible person, coach, and supporter of women agreed to be on the podcast. I personally felt her strength and caring at the end of our conversation when she said kind, motivating words about how Hear Her Sports lifts women up. I’m grateful she made a point of saying that.
Don’t be fooled, Coach Jack is also tough and works hard to win. In seven seasons at Buffalo she has 143 wins (the second most in program history), two MAC Championships, four postseason appearances, three NCAA Tournament wins, the 1st Draft Pick in school history with Cierra Dillard, and this year she led the Bulls to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year.
This episode is the 2nd of three in the mini-series with coaches. One reason I’m talking to female coaches is because it’s such an important, influential position and there aren’t enough of them out there. In women’s college teams, across all sports, only 40.8% of the head coaching jobs are held by women. And this is for women’s teams! On the men’s side, women hold roughly 10% of the head coaching jobs. Read here for more stats, changes since Title IX, and why, big surprise, bias is the reason.
A couple other notables:
1. In 2024, the NCAA Women’s Basketball Final Four is coming to Cleveland, so all you local listeners stay tuned for more basketball and keep your calendar open (April 5 and 7, 2024 at Quicken Loans Arena) for those games. This is a big deal.
2. During our conversation, I ask about how Felisha so frequently calls herself a failure in reference to being fired from her coaching job at Indiana. I’m so glad I did because she corrects me to say that she doesn’t call herself a failure but says she failed. That distinction is key in her coaching and beliefs. Failing does not make you a failure. Instead she “CHOSE to go from fail to flourish”. Here’s an excellent clip particularly for young people. It’s a lesson Felisha wants to share. This clip is only a small part of the full section about making mistakes and stepping forward despite fear. She suggests letting the discomfort sit inside your belly and still take the step forward.