Coach Mike Taught Me To Fight

By Samantha Cobbs

I had the opportunity to both play for Coach Mike and to coach alongside of him. To be 100 percent honest, the only difference was that he couldn’t make me do sprints when I started coaching (although he had plenty of other tools at his disposal)! 

As a player under Coach Mike, you had to fight for your position. Literally fight. Even if it was against one of your close friends on the team, it was every woman for themselves. At the end of the day those fights were teachable moments that I never took into consideration until I got older. If you want something, you have to fight for it.

No matter the circumstances, you go out there, you work hard, and you go get it.

Coach Mike was also known for “keeping it real,” he would be the first to tell you that we’re going to get blown out by 20 tonight but if you play smart, tough, together, and with heart, maybe we’ll get blown out by 10 instead! Until I became a coach, I thought he was crazy for the amount of film he would watch but he truly loved the game and loved to coach it.

We used to have pick-up games in the summertime and the number of MCCC Alumni that would show up clearly showed the respect they have for Coach Mike. I always respected Coach Mike, but respected him more when it was my turn to sit next to him and help make game-time decisions that weren’t easy.

As a coach, you look at the game a lot differently. It’s a whole new perspective sitting on the bench instead of playing the entire game. Coach Mike gave me a new love for the game of basketball, he opened my eyes to so many different things whether, it’s on or off of the court and I will forever be grateful for that.

For me, it was hard to be a coach at first, some of the women were only two or three years younger than me. I wasn’t given respect, but I made sure I earned it because as Coach Mike taught me from day one, if I want it, I have to go get it myself.

Sometimes, Coach Mike would ask our (Coach Jane and my) opinion and then stick with his first suggestion. Then we would just look at each other and smirk. It happened like clockwork, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world, Coach Jane and I thought it was hysterical. 

Of course, there were bad times, what team doesn’t have bad times? Coach Mike never wanted to lose, who does? During those bad times, Coach Mike would most definitely point out your faults, but he would also point out what was done correctly and what could be done better. Having Coach Mike in your life was like having a second father (I called him “dad” regularly, especially in public places), he cared, told you how it was (good or bad), gave you suggestions, told you when you’re right or wrong, made you do things you didn’t want to do but knew it would help you in the long run (homework, sprints, dribble drills, shooting drills, running plays over and over and over and over), encouraged you to be better and taught life lessons that you never thought to take into consideration at that point in time. 

So, here’s to you Coach Mike, Dad, put your feet up, relax and enjoy life. You sure as hell deserve it!

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samantha cobbs

 Samantha Cobbs during her playing career with the MCCC Lady Vikings.