Mortimer soaking up coaching from practices, sidelines


Matt Crow

Wichita State guard Hannah Mortimer (2) cheers on her team during Wednesday night’s exhibition against Newman.

Having the chance to be apart of a team was not the only reason senior guard Hannah Mortimer decided to come to Wichita State.

Mortimer knew she wanted to go into coaching when her playing career concludes, and she felt that learning from head coach Jody Adams-Birch and the rest of the coaching staff would help her accomplish her dream.

“Jody and (Bridgette Gordon) both come from Tennessee, which is one of the best basketball programs ever,” Mortimer said. “They always want to push us, even on the court, to get to another level, and learning from them is just going to make my coaching abilities go to another level.”

Mortimer arrived at WSU after spending two years at Brown Mackie College in Salina, where she was named to the All-Region XI team her freshman and sophomore year. She arrived as a junior as a walk-on to start the season and was certified to play on Dec. 18.

Contributing as a dedicated player and teammate, Adams-Birch decided to put Mortimer on scholarship on Jan. 8 for the rest of the 2015-16 season.

“She worked really, really hard in that first semester,” Adams-Birch said. “I really wanted to reward her and we had scholarships available at that time.”

In practices, Mortimer participates in different drills and takes what the coaches are saying to heart. She learns about how both offense and defense should be constructed as well as conducting proper scouting reports.

She watches the games from the bench during game days, listening to coach’s instructions to her teammates and having her eyes glued to the drawing board during timeouts.

“The game has definitely changed,” Mortimer said. “A couple of years ago when I decided I wanted to be a coach, I saw a certain way that most of the majority of people were coaching. I’ve had a couple of talks with Jody and I think that has really helped me understand different aspects of coaching.”

When Mortimer finishes her playing career at WSU, she sees herself as a graduate assistant coach while working on her master’s degree. Once she graduates with a master’s degree, Mortimer wants to start her coaching career at the Division I college level and get the recruiting aspect of things down.

Her end goal is to be a coach in the WNBA.

“In all, I want to be involved with the WNBA somehow, whether it’s coaching or a director of operations,” Mortimer said. “I do want to eventually get to the WNBA. That’s the top and since I’m so competitive, I want to be at the top.”

The coaches are happy to assist Mortimer in any way they can to help her get a jump start in the field, Adams-Birch said. Her head coach believes that being able to watch will only increase the value of the experience.

“She’s a competitor and someone that loves the game,” Adams-Birch said. “She gets to watch and be a part and gain as she wants through this experience, you’re really happy for her.”