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They Do What? - MHS Basketball Coach Goes Collegiate



Mrs. Harkins, a biomedical sciences teacher here at Mishawaka High School, is not known to many as a basketball coach for Holy Cross College. After spending nearly five years coaching basketball and soccer at the high school, she took the leap in August to begin coaching on a collegiate level, and her career is only going up.

“I played basketball and soccer when I was younger,” she says. After her playing days were over, she began coaching basketball in 2011, where she helped out with the varsity and junior varsity players. Coaching has always been something of interest to her, as it brings back her competitive drive. Harkins also respects the challenges and learns from the downfalls. With each loss that her team faces, it encourages her to work even harder to ensure that her team is ready to learn from their mistakes and overcome adversity.


With her new transition, she has learned just how different high school and collegiate-level basketball is. “The players are a lot more motivated,” she says, “We can give them workouts and things that they have to do, and they will do it without us being there.” Because practice is a major component of success at any sport, Harkins helps to focus her players by encouraging them to watch basketball games, so they can understand how the sport functions. They are also able to see how other players compete and she encourages her players to learn from other people’s mistakes. She also helps them to learn about the sport by watching past games, a process that she calls “game study.” By spending 45 minutes a week watching these films, she hopes that her girls will be able to change their perspective on the sport, and allow them to think more clearly. Because the players have seen their mistakes, Harkins and her head coach hope to give alternate solutions to problems that the players face on the court.

Of course, collegiate-level coaching has some drawbacks. Harkins says that she misses being the head coach of her own team, but she still wouldn’t trade where she is now. Because of her demanding schedule, she comes into school at six in the morning every weekday, which is the only time that she feels that she can get anything done. Her practices start at 3:30 pm, and sometimes she does not get home after basketball games until after midnight. Luckily, there are usually only two games a week.

For those players who are interested in advancing and playing in college, Harkins leaves this: “Stay coachable. Take criticism and understand that coaches are there to make you better, not to tear you down.” She also stresses the importance of watching the game, and to be self-motivated. She suffered from a lack of motivation herself, as she wishes that she had stopped assuming that the coach was solely responsible to motivate her and started taking responsibility to train on her own.

Following Holy Cross’s loss to Saint Ambrose University on December 17th, their 2016 record stands 4-10.


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