February 9, 2011
Monticello High School boys' assistant basketball coach Lisa Haney is the only female boys' assistant coach in the Jefferson District, but she doesn't view herself as different.
"When I'm in the gym, it feels like home," says Haney. "It doesn't really matter if I'm working with girls or working with boys."
Haney's players had never been coached by a woman before, but they've embraced her since day one.
"I really didn't see it as an issue," says junior forward Connor Lilley. "Basketball is basketball, whether it's a man or a woman it doesn't really matter."
While the coaches and players at Monticello have been receptive to the idea of a female coach, Haney has experienced some sexism along the way. One time after winning a game as the freshman boys' head coach at Monticello, an opposing coach was embarrassed to have been beaten by a woman and didn't want to shake Haney's hand after the game.
"At that moment I think I realized for the first time, 'hey I'm a woman coaching in a man's world and somebody's noticing,'" says Haney.
Haney doesn't consider herself a pioneer, but if other women are able to draw inspiration from her, then she'll know she's really making an impact.
"I would hope that anybody that had a passion and a goal would try to do it, no matter what the stakes were," says Haney. "If there's any way I could be a role model in that respect, I'm happy to do so."
Haney and the Mustangs open up play in the Jefferson District tournament on Friday.