Congratulations to Gigi Bistrow, the BSN SPORTS Coach of the Month for May 2019!

  • Name: Gigi Bistrow
  • Position: Assistant Athletic Director
  • Additional Facts
    • 2017 FABC 4A Girl’s Basketball Coach of the Year
    • 2017 State Runner-Up
    • Win the first District Title in school history
    • Over 27 years as a varsity coach

1. What Made You Want to Be a Coach?

“I always wanted to be a teacher. I grew up in rural Mississippi, and I played high school basketball, softball and track. I played a little college softball at Mississippi State, but it was more of a club sport. Then I graduated with my teaching degree, and English teacher and coaching jobs were pretty rare, so it was pretty easy to find a job…Sports has always been a big part of my life, especially basketball. My father was Major League Baseball player; he played for the Cubs for 10 years. So baseball and softball were always big too…I always thought it was a great way for our children to grow up. They grew up in the gym; it’s just a great environment. They had big sisters, and a great village there to help me with them. It’s a safe place where they can learn how to deal people.”

2. Who Was Your Mentor/Inspiration to Coach?

“My father and the atmosphere I grew up in. We watched the Cubs on TV all the time. I also had an older sister who was a basketball and softball player as well. He was always that mental coach for me, and that was irreplaceable. He was very wise and humble, and that also helped me for my future as a parent of athletes. When I had other coaches, I saw how he was very respectful to them, and now I realize how important that is as a parent. At my first coaching job, the woman I was under was one of my influences early on. She helped me develop my philosophy and discipline, and what I really stand for.”

3. What Is The Key For Your Team’s Success? 

“I think chemistry is the key to success. You can have a team with stars, but if you don’t have the chemistry, it’s hard to win. I think the biggest job that a coach has it to get their players to blend together, and to put them in the places where they need to be so that they can be the most successful. I’ve had teams where they were all best friends, and that makes it easy. You don’t have to do much work to get those kids to buy in to each other. I’ve also had teams where when they were in the hallway, they’d ignore each other, and I would tell them they don’t have to be close friends, but on the court, they have to be together. We do pregame meals. We work out in the summer, and go to summer camps at colleges and stay in dorms. We have fun experiences together. Our season starts in November, but it really starts in June. We start building the foundation. Whenever we go to camps, we have things for them to do. We may ask players to make a fun little jingle to sing or do a puzzle together. This bonding can help them when there’s two minutes to go and there’s a tie score. Those things go a lot deeper than any drill you can do in practice.”

4. Do You Have Any Advice For Future Coaches?

“I’m always 15 minutes early to everything now, because I always had to be early to practice. That’s a simple thing, but learning punctuality, that’s better than a jump shot when it comes to your career or job. Those life lessons are at the forefront of what I do as a coach. It’s a very important job when you’re standing there in front of the kids, and their analyzing what you do and what you say. I try to impose on young coaches – you have to think about what you’re doing even more now with social media. You’re under a microscope, so you need to make sure the image you’re portraying to them is something they would want to be like. It’s my responsibility to go deeper. When they leave, I want them to leave as better people than when they came in. I had a player come back to me after 10 years and ask for advice for a new coaching position. She told me she wouldn’t have been prepared.”

5. What Is One Thing You Want Others To Know About BSN SPORTS?

“The customer service and team stores are great. At any time, you can call them. They’re so accommodating when there’s a problem.”