The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

New 9th grade B team coach

First year coach gets into the swing of things
Will Carpenter
Kelsi Gerovac commands from the sidelines Feb. 9. She is the new coach for the boys basketball ninth-grade B team this year.

How did you become a basketball coach?
I started coaching basketball about 4 years ago. My best friend’s dad runs the boys AAU (Amatuer Athletic Union) program for Legacy Hoops, and he needed someone to fill in about halfway through a season. The former coach had gotten called into active duty and had to leave fast. It was a 4th grade boys team, and I was really excited. Ever since then, I have coached many boys basketball teams, been a trainer for basketball players, and helped with summer camps that develop basketball skills. This is my first season as a high school basketball coach. Before this, I coached 6th grade boys for SLP traveling basketball and last year we won a State Championship.

What is your prior experience with basketball?
I started playing basketball when I was in the 5th grade. I played all the way through high school and then committed to play Division III at St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN. I played all four years there along with Track.

What do you hope to accomplish with being a basketball coach?
For me, basketball changed my life. It gave me the skills and tools to be the best and worst versions of myself. I learned about teamwork and building friendships/relationships with different people. I hope to give that back to those who need it.

What challenges do you face working in a male sport usually coached by males?
Respect is the number one challenge that I face being a woman who coaches boys. Respect from other coaches who oftentimes think I am a manager, sister, or mom rather than the coach. There have been times when I get comments from coaches about “losing to a girl,” when trying to motivate their own teams. Respect from referees who have felt it appropriate to make comments to me about “keeping my boys in check,” and offering to help me, which assumes I am not able to do it myself. Respect from other coaches at times who speak to me differently or expect me to take on the “good cop” role because I am a female who they assume is soft-spoken. Respect from former coaches and community members who feel the need to tell me that I am not doing things the way they would have or the way that it used to be done. Respect from players who are at full attention when a male coach is speaking and giving directions, but seem to be very different when they are being addressed by me. It is a challenge that has been very satisfying to overcome and also very draining at the same time. It makes me have to prove myself on a daily basis to those around me.

Why is it important to be a female coach in a sport mainly coached by males?
It is so important for me to coach boys basketball because a lot of people think I shouldn’t. That being a young woman means I cannot connect with male players as well as another man would. I have a lot of basketball knowledge and love for the game, and it is important to show other people that going after what you want is doable. It is hard, and it takes a lot of commitment to fight through the mental battle everyday, but I love basketball and I want to coach and be someone that can be successful with that.

What has been your favorite part about coaching this season?
Getting to know the players has been so much fun. Bringing together a new group that hasn’t played much together before (some have, but a lot of new guys), and seeing how they develop as a group is why I do it. I think that seeing kids step into new roles of leadership and seeing their confidence grow is incredible. Also, they can be really funny and, sometimes when work and life is hard, I can go to practice and know they will brighten my day.

Do you have hopes to coach varsity in the future?
Absolutely. I am on a path in the right direction where I am gaining experience and learning from other coaches and players. It has always been a goal of mine to coach at an elite level. If we are thinking big here, I would love one day to be one of the first female coaches in DI Men’s basketball.

What’s your favorite part about the team?
My favorite part about this team in particular is the way that they fight through things together. We are like a family in our program, so we have our fights and our celebrations, but we always help each other.

How has the season been so far?
This season was an experience unlike any I have ever had. For starters, I used to coach younger players who only practiced twice a week, and so I felt like I was always rushing through things to get all of the information that they needed in a short period of time. With these boys, we meet pretty much every day, so I can take my time more with the concepts we are covering. I have seen a lot of improvement from everyone on my team this year, which is a huge win. We have our moments where things don’t go our way, but they always come back ready to try again. We have had some big wins and faced a lot of challenges, but overall I am happy with the effort of every one of my guys.

What do you hope for the team to accomplish by the end of the season?
By the end of the season, I hope these guys feel a big sense of pride for who they are and who we are as a whole team and program. I hope for myself that I can continue to fight through the daily battles that come with being a woman in this field of sports. I hope that by the end, people who have had doubts will take me seriously as a men’s basketball coach and not just look at me as an attempt for the program to look progressive. I am not just a girl doing a man’s job. I hope my team feels good about their efforts this season and continue to work to be the best they can.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributors
Yosef Teshome
Yosef Teshome, Echo Staffer
Hey, my name is Yosef Teshome. I’m a junior and I play football for the SLP Orioles. I also like to hangout with friends and play video games. This is my first year on Echo and I’m excited to be here!   
Will Carpenter
Will Carpenter, Echo Staffer
Hi, I’m Will. I live in St. Louis Park and I am a junior. This is my first year doing Echo and I am very excited. I have a younger sister and brother, and a dog named Bailey. I like to play baseball and football, and hang out with my friends. 

Comments (0)

The Echo intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. Furthermore, we do not permit any of the following inappropriate content including: Libel or defamatory statements, any copyrighted, trademarked or intellectual property of others, the use of profanity and foul language or personal attacks. All comments are reviewed and approved by staff to ensure that they meet these standards. The Echo does not allow anonymous comments, and requires a name and valid email address submitted that are variable. This email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments. Online comments that are found in violation of these policies will be removed as quickly as possible. Please direct any further questions to [email protected].
All The Echo Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *