Coaching a legacy

Gabi Campbell, Photo Editor, @gabicampbellphotos

Gabi Campbell, Photo Editor, @gabicampbellphotos
Gabi Campbell, Photo Editor, @gabicampbellphotos

Coach Nixon continues her good work

Adam Cichoski | Sports Writer

Utah Valley women’s basketball coach, Cathy Nixon, has been coaching here at Utah Valley University for 20 years now. The team she has now is very young, most of them being freshmen and sophomores. To get a better idea of how she works I sat in on part of one of her practices and talked with some of the girls afterwards.

Mariah Seals, a freshman recently been named WAC Freshman of the Year. There were many schools trying to recruit Seals coming out of high school, but she chose Utah Valley University. I had to ask her, why here?

“When I came on my visit, I didn’t know a lot about this school,” Seals admitted, “When I got here the coaches made me feel comfortable and like I could fit.” A great job by Coach Nixon and her staff to make Mariah feel comfortable, as she’s been great for the team all year. Coming out of high school, she was very good and very familiar with the sport, but when I asked her if she’s been learning a lot since being under Coach Nixon she didn’t hesitate with a strong, “Absolutely.”

Another girl on the team, Taylor Gordon, showed the same great support for Coach Nixon. Gordon is from Mount Pleasant, and is also a freshman. Going to Utah Valley made sense for Gordon, since it’s close to home, but that’s not the only reason why she chose to play here! “I got to know the coaches really well, and the girls were super good to me.”

When asked what she thought of her coach she said, “She’s good. She pushes us and expects a lot out of us, which I like. She gets on us, but not in a yelling kind of way, she doesn’t yell at us, which I really like about her. We can tell when she’s mad. We know we need to get in gear.” I could see that in her coaching style by sitting in on her practice. She motivates her players by simply expecting more out of them. Gordon also feels like while being under Nixon that she’s learned a ton from her coaches. “It’s not only me, the whole group is learning.”

I had an opportunity to talk to Nixon for a minute and ask her a few questions. She’s been coaching here for 20 years! Why? “Because I love UVU, it’s an awesome place to be.” Coach Nixon has been coaching basketball for 27 years now! She spent her first three at BYU then was an assistant here for four years before taking over as the head coach 20 years ago.

I asked her to describe her coaching style. “I just coach how I wanted to be coached as a player. I wanted excellence and I appreciated a coach that wanted excellence. I don’t think anyone responds better to criticism then they do to positive coaching. I’m hard on the girls, I’m demanding on the girls but they work hard and don’t need a lot of prodding. We’re a good match.”

It’s very apparent from talking to the girls and talking to the coach that everyone is on the same page. The girls love their coach and they have a great coach to love. With the majority of the team being under classmen there’s a lot to look forward too.

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