The MVNU women’s basketball program took some hard hits last year. A mid-season turn of events left the Lady Cougars coach-less and discouraged. But their luck soon changed.
MVNU welcomed Coach Amanda Learned with open arms on May 8, 2015.
Coach Learned journeyed to Mount Vernon from Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, Illinois. She left her assistant coach position to tackle the challenge of her first head coaching position.
“I grew up just outside of Chicago, so it’s a bit different than Ohio,” Learned said, “but I was ready for a head coaching position and MVNU had what I was looking for.”
Coach Learned comes to MVNU heavily decorated. A four-year player for Trinity Christian, she was named “Freshman of the Year” in 2006, and was a three-time All-Conference and All-Region player. Learned helped the Trolls to the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference title in 2007 and the school's first trip to the NAIA National Championship tournament.
Learned still holds Trinity’s school record for free throw percentage at 78.6 percent, and the single-season record for free throw percentage at 85.9 percent. She is also sixth in Trinity Christian’s record books with 813 career rebounds, and seventh in career points with 1,424.
After a discouraging 2014 season, the Lady Cougars are anxious to move forward and make a name for themselves under new leadership.
Junior Center Megan Beidelman is eager to take on the new season.
“I expect us to compete every game, gain respect within our league, and grow as a team,” Beidelman said.
It takes a new dynamic, energy, and mission to produce that kind of optimism after winning just five games last year. But Learned said she and her team are ready to move on.
“I think what I’ve noticed about this team is their hunger to be competitive. They are ready to prove themselves,” she said.
Coach Learned stresses to her team that she knows mistakes will happen, but she has confidence in her players.
“I want them to have integrity and work hard regardless of the circumstances… I expect perfect effort,” she said.
Complementing that goal is the team’s mission statement: To be a model of excellence on and off of the court, exemplifying Christ in all we do.
Another key goal is to build the team into more of a family, because becoming close off the court will transfer over to what happens on the court, Learned explained.
Learned received her BA in Sports and Leisure Studies, and she has a Masters in Sports Science. Coach Learned is excited to get back out on the court and take her team to the next level. The season begins with a home game on Nov. 3.