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Basketball Clinic Honors Coach

Published on 01 April 2015

Amy Wong wasn’t sure she’d be able to step onto this basketball court.  Despite playing in hundreds of games and volunteering at dozens of clinics on courts across the country, heading into the gym at the Saul Mirowitz Jewish Community School would take all her strength. Wong, a sophomore at St. Louis College of Pharmacy, was there to host her first skills clinic. It was also her first clinic following the sudden death of her basketball mentor, Steve Yano.

“He was a second father to me,” Wong says. “His death took a huge toll on me. I didn’t think I would be able to host a clinic, or volunteer anymore because that would bring up a lot of memories of him.”

She first met Yano after failing to make the varsity basketball team at Troy High School in Fullerton, Calif.

“I was devastated…embarrassed,” Wong recalls. “When I started playing with Coach Yano he gave me so much confidence. He relit that fire and my passion for the game. He improved my skills and made sure I had the fundamentals down to eventually make varsity.”

Wong was able to lead her first clinic with the support of five other student-athletes from the College.  Jaime Everett, Rachel Watson, Jordyn Norde, Emily Nickles play alongside Wong on the women’s team.   Justin Skeens represented the men’s team. Together, they taught the fundamentals of dribbling, passing, and shooting to a group of 20 grade school age students. Myra Miller, an adjunct instructor at the College, and coach at Mirowitz came up with the idea for the clinic.

“With each drill we did we made sure to explain the importance of that skill in the game so the kids would develop some basketball intelligence,” Wong says.

St. Louis College of Pharmacy athletic teams compete in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics(NAIA) conference. Part of being a student-athlete in the conference is taking part in the Champions of Character initiative. It is a program which emphasizes the core values of integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship, and servant leadership.

“The conference wants every athlete to leave the field or court with those five values,” says Caleb Barnes, intramurals supervisor and Champions of Character liaison.

Barnes says the servant leadership aspect of the program lines up well with the career goals of the student-athletes at the College.

“It does play into what a pharmacist does because pharmacists, as the most accessible health care providers in the community, are looked upon as leaders,” Barnes says.

After the drills, Wong spoke to the young basketball players about what it means to be a servant leader, a good sport, and the impact athletics has had in her life. She plans on becoming a community pharmacist when she graduates.

“I want to be a legacy of my coach,” Wong says. She plans on becoming a community pharmacist when she graduates, bringing the skills and values she has gained to her patients.

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