Coaching, the Next Best Thing to Playing

IMG_5299(file) Kamryn Broschinsky

For some, the game of basketball might not be very important. They may watch the NCAA tournament in March, but overall, it might not just be that big of a deal. Utah women’s basketball head coach Lynne Roberts isn’t one of those people.

For Roberts, in the middle of her second season at the helm of the women’s basketball program, basketball is life.

“I’ve been involved with basketball ever since I’ve had memories,” Roberts said. “I grew up playing with my brothers in the driveway, went through high school and I played college ball. It’s always been there.”

Roberts has spent the majority of her adult life in some type of coaching capacity. She began as an assistant for five years, following through to eventually land her first head coaching job at the ripe age of 26.

“I got my first head coaching job when I was 26 years old, which is really young for a coach,” Roberts said with a laugh. “I started out at Chico State in California and was there for a few years. Then I went on to University of the Pacific, which plays in the WCC with BYU. I was there for nine years until I came here to the U.”

But coaching isn’t for everyone. It’s a hard job that requires a lot of determination, hard work and diligence. For those who have the right personality, coaching can be the most fulfilling career around.

“I love coaching, because it is the next best thing to actually playing,” Roberts said. “I’m extremely competitive and you just don’t get a chance to be like that in other professions. If the two of us were walking across the street, I’m going to beat you across. That’s just how I am. Beyond that, I love teaching the kids. College is a time where you really find out who you are, so I love being able to have that kind of influence on these young kids.”

Coming to the snowy mountains of Utah was a difficult transition for Roberts, but she says she doesn’t regret it.

“Growing up in the central valley of California, I never saw it snow. I had been to the mountains and seen snow on the ground, but I’ve never been in a snowstorm,” Roberts said. “Coming here was hard, because I don’t like the cold, but it is so beautiful here. The mountains and the snow are just gorgeous here.”

Besides the beautiful scenery, Roberts said she chose to came to the U because the leadership was phenomenal. She said she felt at home when she originally came to campus.

“I’m not a coach that likes to move around,” Roberts said. “I know a lot of other coaches do, but I enjoy staying in one place. I came away from my first visit here feeling like I was at home.”

But everyone needs other hobbies to occupy their time. For Roberts, even though basketball is a huge part of her life, she enjoys a variety of other activities.

“I love cooking —that’s something that is very therapeutic for me,” Roberts said. “I’m the kind of person who can’t sit still, so I’m always active. I love to travel when I can. Other than that, between everything else, there isn’t really much time for me to do anything else.”

j.walch@dailyutahchronicle.com

@JaredWalch