Assistant coach uses lessons from hall of fame playing career
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Wichita State women’s basketball assistant coach Bridgette Gordon has implemented what she was taught during her hall of fame playing career to educate current Shocker players.
After a historic playing career, the 2007 women’s basketball hall of famer knew she wanted to coach.
“Why I wanted to coach was something that was predestined. I already knew that was something that God had wanted me to do,” Gordon said.
Gordon learned more about the sport and life from hall of fame basketball coach Pat Summitt, leading the University of Tennessee to four consecutive Final Four appearances. Gordon’s leadership that Summitt instilled in her helped the Lady Volunteers win the 1987 and 1989 National Championships, where she earned spots on the All-Tournament team.
Along with preaching about how to be successful on the court, Summitt shared the importance of getting a college degree and helping young people in any way possible, Gordon said.
After her college career, Gordon was selected to play on the 1988 Summer Olympic basketball team that competed in Seoul, South Korea. While on the team, she learned what it took to compete on one of the largest stages in sports from Kim York, who coached at North Carolina State for 34 years on her way to the hall of fame.
She shot 57.1 percent from the floor to lead Team USA to a 5-0 record to earn the gold medal.
The 1989 Final Four MVP brought her experiences from Tennessee and the Olympics into Wichita State’s system, which led the Shockers to three straight NCAA Tournament appearances through 2013-15.
“You’re talking about one of the best in the world in her days,” head coach Jody Adams-Birch said. “Her knowledge, ability to relate to the players and understanding of what works well in our system at Wichita State is the type of lady we want. She’s a lot of energy for these guys.”
Once her playing career concluded, Gordon spent three seasons at Georgia State in Atlanta, Georgia, as a recruiting coordinator after being a regional scout for the WNBA.
With the numerous connections that Adams-Birch has, she offered Gordon an assistant coaching job in the beginning of the 2010-11 season.
Now entering her seventh season as an assistant coach for the Shockers, players know what Gordon had accomplished as a player and a coach. They understand she wants to make them take in as much wisdom as possible.
In practices, senior guard Hannah Mortimer said that Gordon pushes the players to the next level so the team can be successful. Mortimer said the aspect of being in a family atmosphere, much like Tennessee, is huge to the coaching staff and that Gordon uses experience from her playing days into her coaching style.
“The coaching staff here is really great and they all come from great programs,” Mortimer said. “Being able to learn from (Gordon) is a blessing in itself.”
Gordon is satisfied with her position on staff at WSU and said she is not interested in pursuing a head coaching opportunity any time soon. Like everything else in her life, Gordon said that she would let everything fall into place where it needs to be.
“I’m good at where I am,” Gordon said. I don’t look at myself as being a head coach. If the opportunity comes and presents itself, like everything has in my life, I will line my plans up accordingly to God. Everything has fallen in place because of what I’ve done and how I accomplish it.”