Young women from around the world come to Kilgore College to join the women’s basketball program but Head Coach Addie Lees makes sure they learn more than fundamentals and skills on the hard court.
Speaking to Kilgore Lions Club Sept. 26, Lees explained the scope of the program, which focuses on academics, discipline and service in addition to basketball skills.
“Any person that is a part of my program, any person that I’m associated with, they’re going to learn something about discipline. I would not be here today if I was not disciplined. I would not be able to be helpful to any young person if I was not disciplined myself. That is something that we start with day one, week one, as soon as they arrive on campus,” Lees said.
Lees became the sixth head coach in Lady Ranger history July 1, 2018, according to the KC website. Originally from Plainview, TX, Lees has taught and coached at Eastern New Mexico University, Howard College, Clarendon College and Texas State University. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas at Monticello and a master’s degree from Eastern New Mexico University.
As a point guard at Plainview High School, Lees’ team won two state championships and she made it to regionals twice as a player at Midland College. Her team fought their way to a conference tournament championship while at University of Arkansas at Monticello.
A core component of teaching discipline to her players starts first thing in the morning – with making their beds.
Lees said she can spot which players are sticking to the bed-making routine when they show up for practice, by “how they walk and how they talk and how they act.”
For the coach, developing a young woman into a better basketball player hinges on helping them build character and good personal habits, like integrity both on and off the court.
“In our young people, we lack integrity across the board, but I believe this is true: that if they’re not shown what that means, then they’re not going to be able to apply that and they’re not going to know how important that is in their careers, in the workforce and even in running a family.”
Lees also encourages her players to practice gratitude and embrace an attitude of service.
“Servant leadership is something that we really focus on. So, before I let them get on the court and practice and do all these things that are given to them, like opportunities and things of that nature, I make sure they’ve got to learn how to serve. Some of these young people right now are so used to being served. We’ve got to flip it.”
Lees hand-selects players she thinks are a great fit for KC’s rigorous program.
“I think recruiting is my forte. I love it,” Lees said, adding she keeps player information on whiteboards at home and watches recordings to scout for the best players for KC.
“I do my best to create an environment with personalities, with high women of character. It’s working so far.”
While Coach Lees places high emphasis on developing the character of her athletes, she also makes sure they work to succeed in basketball and in their college education.
“I explain to (the players), imagine we’ve got a trophy right here. Everybody in our locker room, we either chip away from the trophy or pour back into the trophy. We pour back into the trophy with our actions, our thoughts, our words. Are we doing our workouts? Are we getting our study hall in? Every time we take away, we have to pour something back in.”
The Lady Rangers basketball team earned a 22-9 record in the 2018-2019 school year. While they haven’t yet played a game this year, the players will be attending a showcase soon to be viewed by more than 200 college coaches.
The Lady Rangers’ first game of the 2019-2020 season will be Friday, Nov. 1m at 7 p.m. against the Killeen Force here in Kilgore.
To learn more, visit www.Kilgore.edu/Athletics-Arganizations/Basketball-Women.