From time to time, I’ve talked about my cousin Jane Albright, who has been a women’s basketball coach for the last 40 years.
Today, she announced that she is retiring from her post as the head women’s basketball coach of the Nevada Wolf Pack. I’m proud of all she has done in her career and I want to tell her “job well done!” To do anything successfully for that long is impressive.
Cousin Jane’s roots in Alamance County run deep, and she honed her skills as a player in Graham, N.C. She grew up in the same era with Gibsonville sisters Debbie (N.C. State athletics director) and Kay Yow (legendary N.C. State women’s basketball coach). She played collegiately at Appalachian State University. She spent time coaching under the late Pat Summitt at Tennessee, who won 1,098 NCAA games and eight NCAA titles.
Cousin Jane started coaching in 1977 at Spartanburg (S.C.) High and moved up to college stops at Tennessee, Cincinnati, Northern Illinois, Wisconsin and Wichita State. Her final coaching post was Nevada, where she plans to retire and continue watching her Wolf Pack as a season-ticket holder.
A few years ago, Cousin Jane visited The Alliance headquarters and spoke about leadership to the corporate staff. She talked about learning from John Wooden, the legendary Bruins coach who won 10 NCAA men’s titles in a 12-year span. She loved to talk about Wooden’s “Pyramid of Success.”
When she brought her Nevada women’s team to play Wake Forest in Winston-Salem in 2013, my wife, Jane and I had the chance to have her players and staff visit us at our home in Union Ridge, N.C. It was my way of thanking her for investing her time in our staff and I wanted to talk to her team about reaching for their goals as they transition from basketball to a career off the court.
Cousin Jane spent her life focused on faith, family and basketball. Those things were very important to her and she used her faith to help her become a successful coach. For 33 years, she was a Division I head coach, won 512 games and reached nine NCAA Tournaments.
I love that she encouraged people to keep trying and never give up. It’s OK to make a mistake, but you have to learn from those missteps. How you react to adversity is what determines how successful you will be.
She might be done officially coaching, but she will continue to make an impact on people and even future Nevada women’s basketball players as she enjoys her retirement in Reno, Nevada.