WICHITA, Kan. – Oklahoma Wesleyan University’s head volleyball coach Tracie Gillette has been selected as the 2019-20 KCAC Champions of Character Coach of the Year presented by IMA, Inc and Dissinger Reed. Gillette will be recognized at the KCAC Sport Management Conference August 4 at Bethel College.
“I am honored to be the recipient of the 2019-2020 KCAC Coach of Character award,” Gillette said. “Thank you to the committee, who most like made a tough decision, because there are so many great coaches in our conference who exemplify the qualities of a Coach of Character. I love serving at Oklahoma Wesleyan University. It is a place where character is at the forefront in everything we do. I am reminded daily that I am created in the image of Christ and strive to walk in a manner that brings glory to God in all that I do or say.”
Kirk Kelley, Director of Athletics at Oklahoma Wesleyan University, said of Gillette, “She has had success on the court as she recorded her 200th win this past season, but her bigger impact is on our student-athletes. She demonstrates character and passion with her team every day. Her players play hard for her because they know how much she cares for them as people.”
Several of Gillette’s colleagues pointed to her coaching methods, practice habits, and game day etiquette as examples of how she embodies the attitudes of the Champions of Character and the Live5 programs. Doug Quick, Ph.D. and professor of biology at Oklahoma Wesleyan, reflected on how Gillette meets each one of the Live5 values:
“The KCAC Champions of Character implement the Live 5 Program, which emphasizes: 1. Integrity, 2. Respect, 3. Responsibility, 4. Sportsmanship, and 5. Servant Leadership. Coach Tracie Gillette certainly displays these five characteristics to her volleyball team, the referees, and the fans that watch OKWU volleyball teams compete.
First, Tracie demonstrates integrity in her life by displaying adherence to moral excellence on and off the volleyball court. Tracie also holds her players to that same standard of integrity. The way Tracie handles sensitive personal and team issues demonstrates that she has moral excellence.
Second, Tracie is a person of respect, understanding each of the needs of each player, and giving attention to those needs. I have observed this as Tracie interacts with her players and from speaking with my students who are volleyball players, as well. This is evident from students who have family issues or academic needs that interrupt volleyball practice or games. Also, Tracie is respectful to her players during timeouts, especially when a player has made a critical error. I have never seen or heard Tracie, yell at a player during a game or practice. This reminds me of how the great basketball Coach, John Wooden, ran his timeouts, with a calmness in critical situations.
Third, Tracie demonstrates responsibility for the volleyball team and players. She meets with them individually, directs the practices, makes the decision as to who plays in the games, in what positions, while working with the players and assistance coaches. In addition, she feels responsible for the development of each player into women of integrity, who will contribute to society.
Fourth, Tracie is characterized as one having sportsmanship, along with her team. This is apparent especially when referees make questionable calls during games, where she respectful to the referees and accepts the calls.
Fifth, Tracie leads her team as a servant to each player, as well as the team. Successful leaders guide those who they manage by supplying all they need to be successful, including physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual needs. Tracie does this very well. This is evident from the players which I advise and teach in the classroom, which also play volleyball.”
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