Yolett “Coach Yo” McCuin – Ole Miss Women’s Basketball

“Basketball became a passion for me from a very young age because of my father.  He was a HS basketball coach and one night after a Championship game his team lost the game; when the gym cleared out I vividly remember him crying like a baby.  I had to be like 6 or 7 because I went up to him and cried too.  That’s when I learned about the passion for the game of basketball.  From that day on I have always given the game my everything and I’m not shy about letting people know how much I love it.  As I’ve grown older, my passion for winning has not been as big as my passion for helping develop young women and I’m blessed to be able to do both.”

“Basketball has taught me so much but if I were to list a few it has taught me discipline, confidence, team work, work ethic  and toughness. Basketball has open doors for me that I would have never imagined.  I wouldn’t be who I am as a mom, wife and coach without it.”

“My journey has never been easy but I’ve always felt that I had a ‘favor’ as Christians would say or ‘calling’ in my life. I think that there isn’t a secret that women of all colors to this day are fighting for equality with their male counterparts.  As a Black woman there’s another hurdle added simply because of how the system was built: Most times when a Black woman gets an opportunity in leadership we are the first in history.”

“Every Head Coaching  job that I’ve gotten I’ve been the first.  So what makes that difficult at times for me and others is that, at the end of the day,  there were not many people I can blueprint off of.  Yes basketball is basketball, but there weren’t a lot of Black Women Head Coaches that I could follow at the time.  I don’t feel like a victim because of it or anything like that, I just know that we have a lot of work to do with having Women of Color in leadership.”

“I would just reiterate how important it is to keep your head down and work.  Comparison is the thief of joy, and experience matters so work to get some. I hope that any minority, personally for me Black women have an opportunity to be in leadership; have a seat at the table when big decisions are made and also diversification when it comes to positions in our sport.  I think representation matters!”

“Athletics no matter what anyone says is the leader when it comes to any type of change. Simply because we are always out in the public eye. I love that student-athletes, administrators and even coaches are using their platform to speak up against any injustice, inequality or the likes.  We are usually the ones to get behind any cause so I’ve been excited to see us move the needle in this regard due to today’s climate.  Sports bring people together, no matter the race or gender, so although the conversations may be uncomfortable right now, I think that sports are the only way as a Country we will get through this and hopefully from a place of competition, diversity, and love.  Because that’s what sports is!”

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