As we look back on 2021, we must do so with compassion and empathy for those individuals and families that have been impacted by COVID-19. The narrative around the past 18-months is obviously of the pandemic that each of us is still facing on a daily basis and here is to hope that we see an end to this soon. As an association, WIBCA looks back on 2021 as one that saw us come together as state coaches, gaining a larger footprint nationally, and increasing our opportunities for student-athletes and our member coaches. No different than other associations, COVID put the breaks on some things we wanted to do but it did not slow WIBCA down.
Due to the lack of in-person communication and meetings, WIBCA conducted multiple executive board meetings and membership meetings over ZOOM for our members. We were very pleased with membership participation, interest, and we became stronger through numbers and the voices involved. Through these forged relationships, we were able to survey our membership body on issues such as: number of basketball contests allowed as we continue to advocate to give our kids the opportunity for more games. Also, we were able to gauge what was being asked of coaches during the COVID pause and expectations from coaches by school districts and subsequent remuneration. These results were shared across the state for all coaches to have and use as we push for more games and better/fair pay for coaches. During the early part of 2021, WIBCA was in regular contact with the WIAA about bringing kids back to play.
Since early in the year, WIBCA had a strong working-relationship with our state’s governing body on getting our kids back on the court but doing so in a safe and healthy environment. WIBCA also was in communication on multiple occasions with the state governor’s office providing input on the same goal. Yes, we had modified seasons but through the efforts of many associations and experts our student-athletes did get back on the court, albeit for a truncated season.
WIBCA is a key member of the National High School Basketball Coaches Association and through our involvement with this body we found that with the multiple endeavors and sectors we are involved in it was time to look into board expansion. The executive board made a recommendation to membership to increase our board by three
(3) positions of which was approved. In the spring we proudly added Kellen Drake (Director of Membership), Craig Jackson (Director of Diversity) and Connie Richardson (Online Hall of Fame/Podcast Coordinator). WIBCA was one of the first state associations nationally to take the lead on the issue surrounding social injustice through creating the specific board position, nationally shared infogram, Craig’s informational sessions for coaches and our board, social justice t-shirts for programs, and in February we celebrated our history of black head basketball coaches in our state through our website.
WIBCA is proud that this is not a moment for our association, rather a movement and we will continue to promote, advocate and then celebrate the diversity of student-athletes and coaches in our state.
WIBCA also in the spring, through the efforts of Connie and J.C. Alexander is now in the business of podcasts. Weekly on Wednesday nights one can join the podcast and listen to great coaches in our state and hear their stories, experiences, and knowledge of the game. In July, WIBCA sent four of its executive board members to Cleveland, Ohio for the NHSBCA national conference. Nalin Sood is a member of the executive board and is past-president, Gary Wusterbarth is on the Coaches vs. Cancer executive committee and Tim Gaebe recently took the position as Capital Development Director for this association. Also in July, WIBCA, through the efforts of our Hall of Fame chairman, Dave Dickson, WIBCA was able to put on two Hall of Fame events. The first ceremony was held in Yakima and the second two nights later in Mountlake Terrace. Both events had limitations on the amount of guests we could allow but nonetheless they were special to those inducted and also those that received one of our multiple annual awards. The WIBCA Hall of Fame ceremony(ies) is the shining moment for WIBCA. As we mentioned earlier, WIBCA is always thinking ahead as to what we can do to better serve our stakeholders?
WIBCA is proud of our recently created mentoring program to assist new and young coaches who are entering the profession. Those individuals involved can now lean on current or retired head coaches who through their many years of experience have wisdom they can share with their mentee. WIBCA is also very excited that in 2022 we will be bringing out two new events during our All State games weekend. During that time, we are now including an underclassmen “Futures Game” for 20 of the top underclassmen in the state of Washington. We also look forward to hosting the Unified Sports basketball game on the same weekend. WIBCA looks forward to serving all interested in our great sport.
We closed up the fall with our annual executive board retreat in Chelan of which quite a bit of planning and prep was done to close out 2021 and for 2022. We followed that up with another successful fall clinic in Yakima. The following weekend WIBCA hosted 128 student-athletes to Bellevue College for our fall showcase. 24 coaches from various levels saw a weekend of great talent, basketball and educational activities for those involved. WIBCA cannot be who we are without the support of those businesses and individuals that provide for our student-athletes through sponsorship agreements with our association. Many of the events we put on we can do so with fees at a minimum or zero dollar amount due to our generous sponsors. Also, in 2021 we were able to give out scholarships to two student-athletes this year to assist them financially with their higher education tuition.
As we wrap up 2021, we all look forward to 2022. The foundation and groundwork we have laid over the past 12 months promises to make next year a great and very busy one!