Nov. 6, 2009
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Editor’s Note: The following article first appeared in the Oct. 22 edition of the Official Sports Report (OSR) for the University of Iowa. OSR is a daily e-newsletter exclusively about the Iowa Hawkeyes. Click HERE to learn more.
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Five years ago, women’s basketball coaches from the University of Iowa convinced Abby Emmert to take a chance on their program. In an ironic twist last summer, Emmert convinced those same coaches to take a chance on her.
Emmert began her job as director of basketball operations for the Hawkeyes on Sept. 4, five years after beginning a career as a guard for the UI women’s basketball team.
“It was really cool when I walked in and saw my name on that door,” Emmert said. “It was like the first time seeing my name on the back of a jersey. This is kind of a dream job for me.”
Emmert replaces Chuck Evans, who spent the previous three seasons in that position.
“When you’re playing, you don’t have any idea what goes on in these offices,” Emmert said. “You know they’re at practice for three hours a day, but then what happens the rest of the day? I realize now that Chuck was doing a lot of work.”
As director of basketball operations, Emmert said her primary responsibility in-season is setting up travel, doing a bulk of the day-to-day scheduling, tracking volunteer hours for the student-athletes, and making sure the program runs smoothly. In the summer she will organize the summer camps and an annual golf outing.
With Emmert on the roster from 2004-08, the Hawkeyes compiled a four-year record of 75-49. Iowa advanced to the NCAA tournament twice (2006 and ’08) and the WNIT once (2005). Emmert started 22 games and played in 101 others, averaging 2.4 points, 1.4 assists and 1.2 rebounds per game. She was a team co-captain as a senior when Iowa won its ninth Big Ten Conference regular-season championship.
After graduating from the UI with a degree in communication studies in 2008, Emmert accepted a position with United Way of East Central Iowa in resource development. She helped with fund-raising and other strategies for the overall United Way campaign.
“I loved it, so I feel really lucky,” Emmert said. “It was hard to leave there, but I couldn’t turn down an opportunity like this.”
A native of Winterset, Iowa, and the daughter of a basketball coach, Emmert has been around gymnasiums her entire life. She hopes the sport remains in her future.
“I knew down the road I wanted to go into coaching, but I didn’t know at what level,” Emmert said. “To take that first step at the University of Iowa…I have so much respect for this place and I love everything about it. I’m able to learn everything about how the program works — staying involved in basketball and listening to conversations about offenses and defenses. I’m able to get a good feel for what it takes to run a program.”
NCAA rules prohibit Emmert from participating in practices with the current Hawkeye players. That’s all right with her.
“I can’t be out there, not only because of the rules, but because I’m not in shape to do it,” Emmert said with a laugh.
Iowa plays an exhibition game Sunday, Nov. 8, against Washburn (Kan.) with a 3 p.m. tip inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.