Guilford College women's basketball coach Stephanie Flamini earned career win 300 in dominating fashion last weekend. Her young Quakers rolled over preseason Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) favorite Eastern Mennonite University, 68-43, to move into a surprising share of the conference lead.
Guilford will recognize Stephanie's accomplishment prior to Saturday's 2 p.m. home contest with league-rival Washington and Lee University. Now in her 19th season as a head coach and her school-record 15th at Guilford, the milestone victory and her team's sustained excellence testify to Stephanie's passion for basketball, her ability to teach the game, and a willingness to help her students reach their potential.
"Each milestone is a little more significant," Stephanie said. "With 300 wins you know you've been doing this a little longer and you never know how long you're going to coach.
"When I first got into coaching somebody asked me, 'What if you don't like it?' I didn't even think about that. It never even crossed my mind that I might not like it."
An Eye For What Matters
"She sees things a little differently than some of the other coaches I've had," said assistant coach Brittany Atwater '13. Brittany, a three-year starting point guard (also Stephanie's position in college), has contributed to all three of Stephanie's ODAC titles at Guilford – two as a student, one as an assistant coach.
"She really wants to teach you the game," Brittany said. "It's not so much how 'I want to teach you your position', but, 'I also want you to see why we're teaching you this, and how it can help you and your teammates.'"
Stephanie has done a lot of teaching in her career, and especially this season. The Quakers returned just one starter among five letter winners from last year's league champions that went 24-4. This year's team is 12-4 and features 10 students in their first year of college basketball, six of whom are averaging at least 14 minutes a game this year.
"She knows it's really a learning experience for them and they're freshmen, so she can't just be on them for every little mistake," said Lauren Ramsey '18. "It's a growing process."
Lauren and Brittany are both products of Stephanie's recipe for success. It starts with a student's recruitment and extends through their final play. Featured ingredients include honest appraisals, a bit of spunk, some humor, lots of defensive instruction, and high standards. And the results are something to savor: 300 wins, four NCAA Division III Tournament appearances, three ODAC titles—and most importantly Stephanie's life-shaping impact on hundreds of student-athletes.
"A lot of people coach, and you think they're stuck on success or stuck on winning," Brittany said. "With her, if you're getting better as a player every day, and going out and giving your best effort, she's content with that."
"And usually when you go out and give 100 percent effort all of the time, you're winning. And it's not just about basketball. She instills that in life. Make sure you're going to class. Make sure you're doing what you're supposed to. It's not just about basketball."
As Stephanie reflects on her career, she notes her accomplishments are less about her and more about the students. As she says, "They put the ball in the hoop!" Entering her 20th year as a head coach, the students remain Stephanie's primary motivation.
"You want to push them to be better than what they thought they were," Stephanie said. "When they graduate they can look back and see they got the most out of their experience."
Stephanie and her Quakers look to add to the program's achievements in their seven remaining regular-season games, four of which are home. In addition to Saturday's contest, Guilford hosts Emory & Henry College February 7 at 7 p.m. and welcomes league-leading Randolph-Macon College three days later at 4:30 p.m. The Feb. 10 contest is the Quakers' annual Play4Kay Game to raise awareness and funds for the fight against cancer. Guilford bids farewell to Lauren on Senior Day, February 17, versus Virginia Wesleyan University at 4:30 p.m.
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