Fit City Mag - Issue No. 17

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Encourage & Empower STORY BY ERIKA BARENBERG

On March 20, 2022, Jacie Hoyt became the new head coach of the Oklahoma State women’s basketball team, following Jim Littell’s decade-long stint with the Cowgirls. “He did an amazing job and laid a great foundation for us to continue to build on,” said Hoyt as she gave Fit City Mag an exclusive tour of the Cowgirl’s basketball facilities. As we walked through the orange and black-painted halls, I immediately felt how special it is to be a part of this team. From Nike and Gatorade sponsorships, to a recovery room with hot and cold tubs, to a family room with a fully stocked kitchen, it’s only the best for the Oklahoma State Cowgirls. “We’re in the Big 12. We’re competing against the best of the best and trying to be at our best. I think it’s so important to have these resources to allow our student-athletes to be at their absolute best on game day. At this level, every detail matters,” says Hoyt. One of the most important rooms in the women’s facility is the meeting room where the Cowgirls talk about their core values. The team spent the spring writing out their goals and collaborating on their mission statement. Hoyt says, “It’s important for the players to write it out, see it and talk about what it means to them. Coaches are teachers first and foremost, so this is our classroom setting.” She noted that this is one of her favorite aspects of being a coach. HOYT: NO STRANGER TO HARD WORK, ADVERSITY, AND LEADERSHIP Coach Hoyt not only grew up an athlete but followed in the footsteps of one of her most important mentors, her mother, who is a Kansas high school coaching legend. “I was able to watch my mom accomplish many things and have a lot of success in what is a ‘man’s world’,” says Hoyt. She learned how to overcome adversity from watching how her mom carried herself in challenging situations. Her mother is

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Fit City | Issue No. 17

also one of her biggest supporters and always gives her the hard truth, telling her not what she wants to hear but what she needs to hear so she can be better. Other mentors in her life include her father, a school superintendent in Kansas. He taught her about leadership and how to manage people. Hoyt also had former coaches show her the ropes and cheer her on and be her “truth-tellers.” “One of the greatest gifts you can give someone is saying, ‘I believe In you.’ I’ve been fortunate and blessed to have that in my life and to now pay it forward to the players,” Hoyt emphasized. Leadership to Coach Hoyt is about empowering people and walking alongside them. She believes it’s her responsibility to come up with the vision and carry out the mission that the team abides by. On or off the court, she stands up for her girls regardless of how tough the situation is. For her, it’s all about loving others and treating them the way you want to be treated. She’s the leader who says “get behind me” so she can guide them through the situation together. Hoyt says her faith is her compass in those situations. “I make a thousand decisions a day. Faith is the filter that I make my decisions through.” She adds that her faith is her anchor and keeps her grounded when things don’t go well in her life. Coach Hoyt recalls several pivotal moments in her athletic career where things didn’t go as planned, specifically around injuries. She tore her ACL four different times, a difficult injury to rehabilitate. Hoyt said that her self-worth used to be the game, but now, being a head coach, she understands she is so much more than a player and a coach. “I had to go through that [injuries] to learn that about myself. I’m thankful for those experiences because they made me a much better coach for my players,” Hoyt said. Hoyt knows how easy it is to get wrapped up in the wins, losses, and game performance and adds, “The best thing you can do is remember that you are more than whatever your performance says about you. Surround yourself with people who help you remember that.”


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