Home College Basketball Basketball is Life: Coach’s Wife Annoyed with Women’s Basketball Culture

Basketball is Life: Coach’s Wife Annoyed with Women’s Basketball Culture

Basketball is Life: Coach’s Wife Annoyed with Women’s Basketball Culture
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Submitted for publication by Trisha Kellogg, wife of SFA women’s basketball coach, Mark Kellogg.

Basketball is life.  I lived and breathed those words from a young age.  I spent hours upon hours in the gym in a tiny Montana town hoping enough people would show up to play a game of pick up ball.  I would dribble my basketball across the street to the middle school to shoot hoops, rain or shine.  I would beg my friends to come play for “just an hour” on a hot summer day when all they wanted to do was swim in the local pool.  Basketball was life.

That mentality propelled me to work hard every day.  My dad was a high school boys basketball coach and always stressed the importance of working hard to meet my goals.  There was no club basketball, there was limited college exposure in our town of maybe 5,000 people at the time.  I’d have to work extra hard to get a basketball scholarship and my grades had better be good enough to fall back on.  My parents wouldn’t be able to afford college, so it was up to me to make it happen and my goals fueled me day in and day out.

My junior and senior year in high school I was averaging 19 and 20 points per game.  I had some colleges calling and I was blessed to get a full ride basketball scholarship to a Division II University.  I was also Valedictorian, which made me more valuable to the University I chose to attend.  Not only were my basketball skills important, but my drive for academic success was key.

NCAA Men's Basketball Cutting Down Nets

I red-shirted my first year and my team made it to the Division II elite 8 for the first time in school history.  I was so proud to be a part of such an amazing team with incredible goals!  I had never been associated with so many girls with the same mentality as me, give it your all every day in the gym and in the classroom.  This team was so hard working, it was awesome.  One small example was demonstrated on the track.  We had to run six, four hundred yard dashes on the track every Tuesday and Thursday for pre and post season conditioning.  Our coach grouped us according to position and gave us specific times that we had to make.  We were so competitive and pushed so hard that each group would shatter their time, because they didn’t want to be beat by a teammate or outworked.  We didn’t skirt by, we didn’t just make our times, we shattered them to get better and to push each other.  We also had to run the timed mile according to position.  One player didn’t make it and her punishment was to run it every day at 6:00am until she made it.  Our team chose to get up every morning with her and cheer her on until she made it.  Several of us even ran it with her to encourage her and help her along.  After about 5 days of running the mile, she made it.  In her last 100 yards of the mile, our entire team got on the track, held hands, and finished the mile with her.  We were a team and basketball was life.

I am now a women’s basketball coach’s wife and basketball still is life.  I live for each season.  I go to a lot of the practices and all of the games that I can.  My kids love it.  They eat sleep and breath it, too.  They are 6 and 8 years old and know more about basketball than most adults.  They look up to the players and imitate them and replay their games as if they were the players.  It’s a life-style.  It’s our life-style and it terrifies me.

Mark and I married nearly ten years ago and he had one year of head coaching experience at the Division II level under his belt at the ripe age of 29 years.  He was ambitious and passionate and ready to teach the game that he loved just as much, if not more, than I loved.  He had success, great success, and more importantly, great players.  We quickly realized that the relationships with the players were more important than the victories themselves.  Don’t get me wrong, winning is the goal and it is so vital for many reasons, but along with the winning culture, great people and friendships are cultivated.

We consider the girls to be our family.  We are worried if they are sick or sad.  We get excited to celebrate successes.  After they graduate, we go to weddings and they come visit.  We get to know their families and become an extended family.  It’s what the game is supposed to be about.  Building a culture of success on the court, but more importantly, in life.  And by success I mean graduating with a degree and leaving a college or university with friendships that will last a life time.  Isn’t that what life is about? Celebrating victories in life with the people you care about the most.  My college coach always told us that success is nothing without people to share it with you.  Isn’t that the truth?!

So you’d think that with this great life of basketball, love, and relationships, we’d be on cloud nine riding off into the sunset of passionate work and fruitful victories, but a dark cloud of change is starting to cover the basketball world and it’s scary.  We see this cloud moving in daily.

I hate to generalize and there are so many exceptions and my plea is to be the exception, but the culture of women’s basketball is starting to become one of entitlement and blame.  I’m seeing girls who not only won’t go the extra mile, but they will do whatever it takes to make the bare minimum.  They were the best player on their club team so they don’t understand why they have to work just as hard as the girl next to them for their position.  They think it’s ok to skip study hall and use the excuse that other people are doing it, too.  Their teammate will get recognition for a great play or a great game and they will get jealous that it wasn’t them or blame the coach that he/she favors the player.  They will lose playing time because of their attitude and will claim discrimination or mental abuse.

I’m seeing girls that are more concerned about posting on their snap chat and Twitter they had a career high 15 points and were going to party the night away, than those that love the game so much that they are hungry to make themselves and their teammates better.  I’m seeing girls who aren’t as successful (even as freshman and sophomores) as they think they should be, who blame the coach and want to transfer.  I’m seeing parents who aren’t happy with their child’s playing time who call the coach, athletic director, and yes, the president of the college or university, because their kid isn’t being treated fairly.  I see parents after games walk up the coach and confront them that they are mistreating their child.  More often than not, it’s their child that is failing school and gives very little effort at practice.  I’m seeing players band together, not on the court, but off the court, claiming they are being emotionally abused because their coach yells at them and is demanding.  They then sue the coach and university for all of the hardships they are going through.

What the heck is happening with women’s basketball?  I’ve had some tough coaches, demanding coaches, people who have pushed me to the breaking point and I used that as fuel to better myself.  I didn’t ever make an excuse, in fact, I worked harder.  Where is the kid that sees adversity and steps up to the plate and works to be the best that she can be?  She’s hiding behind a culture of weakness that is allowing kids to run to a law suit or a release form because she doesn’t want to challenge herself.  It’s a lot easier to blame someone than it is to put in the work.

This is terrifying.  My 6 and 8 year old children recognize this.  “Mom, why aren’t they smiling and cheering each other on?”  “Wow, they have some bad attitudes.”  Yes, they do and for elementary kids to see this, again, is terrifying.

We need to start the discipline early.  Get back to the fundamentals of what sports are about.  Club basketball needs to take a step back and let all of the players know that they will not always be the best and they will face adversity and it’s time to work hard not for the spot light, but for the love of the game.  Parents need to step back and hold their kids accountable and teach them the importance of work ethic in the classroom and on the court.  Quit bailing them out!

Kuddos to the women’s basketball players out there who work their butts off, who get good grades and who show up to study hall and class.  Kuddos to the women who are encouraging to their teammates and are more concerned about the team than themselves.  You are rare in this sport and it is you who can lead by example.

Basketball is life.  It still is.  I refuse to let the current culture ruin the game that has raised me into the women that I am.  I refuse to let the current culture ruin the kids who see the power that basketball has, the good and the bad.  I will continue to fight for the game that I love.  My plea is that our society stops allowing the current entitled culture of women’s basketball to continue.  From youth sports through to college hoops, hold the players accountable.  Demand excellence in the classroom and on the court.  Demand respect for teammates and coaches.  Life is about growing as people and building meaningful relationships.  Let’s get back to the fundamentals, because for families like mine, basketball is life!

Submitted for publication by Trisha Kellogg, wife of SFA women’s basketball coach, Mark Kellogg.


  1. Coaches sometimes spend years recruiting a player. They meet their parents, coaches, teachers, teammates. Coaches watch these kids interact on the court and know how they perform in the classroom. Recruiting is relationship. By and large the attitudes of these young ladies are not a surpsrise. Stop recruiting players that don’t demonstrate the attributes that you are looking for! If the “entitled” player isn’t being recruiting heavily by nearly every school or has schools stop showing interest based on attitude, attitudes will change. You can’t have it both ways. Stop waiting for the culture to change and change the culture. There are so many amazing young ladies out there that are great students, good teammates, and incredibly athletically talented. You may have to spend more time in the 5000 person Minnesota town to find them instead of the AAU summer courts (not that their not there too) but they exist. Recognize the part that coaches play in recruiting the student that can play ball but never attended class in high school or can handle the ball but isn’t “coachable” or respectful. The girls that you refer to in this article didn’t recruit themselves.

  2. This is a great article and I agree with most of what you say. The thing is, I think that these players do not become entitled when they get to college. Most likely, they have been entitled for years. I have seen this behavior on both of my children’s high school age basketball teams. On many occasions, I have seen our “star” player come to the game after it has already started. I have also seen another “star” from our area scream at coaches and players during a game. These things all happen at AAU tournaments in front of college coaches and guess what- they are still being highly recruited. Recently, a college came to see a player and that player was sitting the whole first half of the game. When the college asked the high school coach why, he told them she skipped a few practices and lied. The girl knew the college was coming and still skipped the practice before the game. That college still offered a scholarship to that girl. I feel like the message sent by many coaches is “we demand respect unless you are the star. In that case, talent trumps everything.” My husband is a high school coach and he has been very frustrated in how little some coaches care about character. If college coaches start caring about character, they will get more respectful players.

  3. I hope she doesn’t believe that this is just a “Women’s Basketball” problem! I work with 2 year olds & 5-11 year olds this is an “Every Day, Every Age, Girl & Boy” PROBLEM!!
    They are ALL Selfish, fell in tilted & NOT MANY PARENTS are making their children accountable!!

  4. This would be an awesome article, had the intent not been to control the narrative of a complaint against Coach Kellogg. At no time should a coach say F… You to a player. If coach, mentor or leader does not have the abilities to handle themselves better than that when angry, then it is time to get out of the game. I do agree that there are some athletes who feel self entitled, and many parents are not helping the situation. However, my question to everyone is if a coach told your daughter F… You, what would you do? I ask that same question to several college, AAU and HS coaches this week, and they all agreed that at no time is that the way you conduct business. I find the timing of Trisha Kellogg’s article interesting.

  5. Highly agree, but it’s not just female athletes, but also males. And mostly in the middle school level is where it all starts. These kids play on their own rec teams or select teams and their the best player on that team and when you get a bunch of “star” athletes it turns into a complete mess with who wants to start, why is so and so playing 5 more minutes than me, why do we have to runot so much, why can’t I just dribble and shoot whenever I want, etc. This definitely goes on at a much younger age and most middle school coaches will just let it slide and let the kids run the team because they’re “so good”, but these kids really need to know how far hard work and dedication and teamwork will get them in the long run, because even after basketball if they are able to achieve those things and more, then is not just for the love of basketball, but also for the love of life after basketball.

  6. Well written, and highly accurate. There are no short-cuts to real success, real relationships and real confidence. It’s all accomplished through T-I-M-E and HARD WORK, and knowing that God has a great plan for your life, that yes, may, most definitely include the great game of basketball.

  7. My son coaches girl in La and he love it if they don’t work they don’t play tell your husband to look him up Kenneth lee Jr
    AAU Team LaLady Select

  8. I am a professional Collegiate rowing coach. After reading this I think of my team and the culture and today’s Athletics. I coach a club team that competes with Intercollegiate Varsity programs. Our athletes fundraise, train 20 hours a week are full-time students and pole positions such as Treasurer president so one of their club team. It is their program, they own it and they develop it to a high-level program because they want to succeed at the highest level.

    On occasion, there are few that want to take advantage and not do the work. However, by and large I enjoy working with these hard nosed and focused student-athletes. There are plenty out there.

    I have also seen a few parents get a bit too involved. Unfortunately it is a disservice to theirs child and the program. Today’s athletes in large part are no different than athletes over the years. Yes there are a few that feel entitled. However I say to all coaches do the right thing, do it to the best of your ability and in the end what is Right will be right no matter what you or I say.

    Do what you love because you love it

  9. Romans 8:28 we know God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, and those who are called according to his purpose!!! Now in my humble opinion when a person with a harden ❤ and prideful atttude trys to discredit a true child of God… Well let’s just say they will reap what they sow more then they sowed longer then they want to reap…Finally, what’s done in the dark will sooner then later come to light please ask Jesus for forgiveness……

  10. Sadly this is not just a basketball problem, happens in all sports. When they get trophies for participation, what’s to strive for.

    • This is neither a women’s nor a basketball player’s nor an athlete’s issue…it is generational. The generation raised to know that everyone gets a prize, a cookie, a ribbon, a trophy, etc., just for showing up has now arrived in college. Their parents who always told them they were the best/greatest/smartest/most graceful/most talented/ and so on created a generation that believes it; mom and dad were obviously…misguided at best. They’ve created “entitled” young people whose mediocrity has always garnered praise. Now, when they are held to account, they don’t measure up and don’t know how to handle setbacks.

  11. Totally agree. Played basketball in the late 70’s early 80’s at Eastern Illinois Univetsity. Played for the love of the game and the team. Coached for a while at public high school in early 90’s. Wow want a change. Entitlement is what I saw too. Coached later at a Christian high school and enjoyed that. You have made some good observations. Are sports society needs to change.

  12. Great article, I loved to watch you play your dedication to the game was second to none. Your family was an awesome asset to our lil community and are still greatly missed. I believe our young people are behaving this way because of the way they are raised. I remember when my daughter played at your high school. The coach would sit her down and I would be like WHAAT, why is my baby sitting down. Her father a former ball player himself would say ask her. So, i would and she always knew why; not blocking out…etc. you see we didn’t let it be about the coach didn’t like her. It was about what can you do to better your game. She never played college ball. She did however graduate Valdictorian of her high school class. Graduated with high honors from a 4-year division I college and is a very successful young business woman. And I truly credit basketball with teaching her what hard work, and dedication can accomplish. And what the benefits are of being a part of a team. But more importantly being the best that you can be through hard work, and dedication. Not just getting eveything given to you. As parents we made her accountable for her own success, with our guidance. Not anyone else.

  13. Dear Trisha,,,you hit the nail on the head,,,I am a high school basketball coach and I see the issues that you raised happening year in and year out… And yes the parents are at the root of the problem…It seems to be getting worse every year because in my case the parents are the ones I sighting the pitting of one child against the other “don’t pass her the ball the may e you can be the leading scorer,,,and therefore make all-leauge ect ect…instead of insisting that there child works hard to achieve academic success they blame the teachers and the culture of the school for there Childs academic struggles,,,when in fact the club coached and “sideline coach’s” have misled the kids into thinking a scholarship is waiting on them like a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow as long as there “stats are this or that”…it seems like the (word on the street) is your coach is pushing you to hard,,,if he’s insisting that you be a hard worker in class and actually bring a book to study table,,,and learn to work hard in practice and play for your team always,,,if your coach insists that you play with some structure “unlike most club teams” and the child doesn’t want to do those things,,,then “the coach” needs to go or I’m transferring my kid…It’s no wonder that the kids come into college with a screwed up perception of how things are going to be both in the classroom and on the court,,,between the influence of club coaches and parents (most of whom fell short themselves and are trying to live out there hoop dreams thru there kid)its no wonder that they have a unrealistic expectation of how things should go once they get to the college level….

  14. You are spot on! Ready to find all players present and former to ban together for change for the game we love and cherish!!

  15. THANK YOUUUUUU! Our entire high school coaching staff resigned 2 weeks ago because we couldn’t fight off this culture anymore. We took a stand against the false and damaging finger pointing. Investigations, parents, entitlement…you name it. Ours is a different sport but no matter- it’s what’s happening everywhere. We have to battle so our world can benefit.

  16. I coached high school basketball for 32 years and my first 25 years were the best years of my life. Just like you said I lived and breathed the game from the time I was 7 years old. When I had a team say to me as I was pushing them to get better ” Coach you just love the game more than we do” I decided maybe it was time for me to get out of coaching because I was not going to stop loving the game and I did not want players taking away what was always so important to me. So I went into administration. Basketball is still my love and always will be. Your article is so true today. I really enjoyed it. Thanks

  17. This is fantastic !! Thank you as an offical I have noticed this at every level and the jealousy of players and even at times coaches . Thank you for the excitement and love you have for the game and the love for the girls ! It will come back and with people who still teach and correct these ladies will continue to see success 🙂

  18. Thanks for your perspective on what you see in women’s basketball, I see this same thing in men’s, it hurts. Not every program can be highly successful, speaking solely of the wins versus losses. The disintegration of team, together dealing with both the ups and downs has become as you said more of an excuse/blame status. Desire in sports is the same in life, hard work has become more of a rare commodity. A great man I fleetingly knew said, ‘when you think, you have done enough, the reality is, you have only just begun.’ It has been a statement I have tried to keep close and spread to those who are willing to hear the words. Thanks again for the article, I will pass it along.

  19. I noticed the outside the lines about 5 women basketball coaches under fire about kids transferring and ect. The universities have launched and investigation in each case. What a slippery a slope they may be starting if coaches will start being fired based on entitled children leaving to go places folks will kiss up to them, rather than challenge them to be at their best. Great article, thank you.

  20. I totally agree. I played college basketball & soccer & my husband played college baseball. He is a baseball coach at a junior college & the boys are the same way. They don’t know how to compete but they do know how to pout and complain. Very few give the extra effort & are certainly out for themselves and not the team. Very sad!

  21. I say Kudos to you for expressing what is going on. I have watches coaches worry about whether the players get back to the dorm on time and not late, taking a cab by themselves. I have witnessed coaches assisting troubled young women work through challenges only to cast blame back without any feelings of loyalty to team or coach. While women before opened up the ability of these current athletics, all is being lost due to attitude and ego centered players and families.

  22. Wow you speak of accountability!!! That seems to be something this entire coaching staff is lacking especially the head coach!!! What a way to try and manipulate the readers into thinking that he (Mark) is a victim… Finally, God sees all and we reap what we sow…..

  23. Wow Wow Wow! Very well written Trisha!
    Former Iowa State guard and now coaches wife.
    Thank you for sharing

  24. My daughters high school softball coach and I were talking the other night about almost the same things you just said. All of these travel ball teams have created an all about me attitude and a loss doesn’t hurt them like it once did.

  25. As a parent of a student athlete (woman’s basketball) exactly who are these players you speak of. This is so general to make it like all players are like this or not going through something. I am sure some of these situations may be this way. But all of them? I hear all the time , players need to understand this is a business. Maybe the NCAA needs to revise by law 2.2.4 and 2.2.5 . And if its a business on one side its a bussiness on the other. Sometimes business moves are harsh and and countermoves are more harsh. Schools do not just give away money because someone made a complaint. A person has to get approval to sue. It is called a right to sue. Schools are not just going to give money to make it go away. I am not condoning the whiners. But just because somthing used to go on and was accepted does not mean it will keep going that way. Everyone is not lying. These “players ” are daughters . They are thoses same little girls that your daugthers are looking on the sidelines dreaming . I hope you are talking about the specfic players that your husband coaches ,and have first hand proof they did not want to work hard. Just to put out an article like this and not acknowledge these young ladies are people . They have issues and go through things just like anyone else. This general attitude just shows all the smiles and love during the recruiting is bs. Some people think no more of these young woman than just a paycheck . And when they start treating the school like a business to get what they want out the deal … sad faces , these spoiled brats. Oh well I guess you gonna have to watch your step , cause these players are making moves and getting their way.

    • Everything she is saying is to control the narrative, once her husband was under investigation for telling a player F… You!! The story was also a direct jab at the team Kellogg coaches, which is extremely unprofessional. Administration, players, parents, fans and boosters were all able to determine the intent of the article. That is why they are dealing with what they are now. KNOW THAT THERE IS MORE TO THIS STORY!

      • Hey Charles I have an actual recording of the meeting where the girls were in Mark Kellogg’s program reacting to this meeting. There was alot of dissatisfaction and the truth needs to come out….what’s your email?

      • Charles’ daughter was obviously the one who was swore at. Can’t imagine that’ll happen ever again in her life with such “protective and thoughtful” parents

  26. I feel very fortunate to be a fan of Missouri State and Drury University in Springfield, Missouri. Basketball is a way of life to so many here and we are so blessed to have coaches such as Cheryl Burnett and Mollie Miller who have instilled the virtues espoused in this letter from Mrs Kellogg. The few failing players we have had have fortunately left our Universities on their own and not stayed around long enough to have an adverse effect on others.

  27. What’s happening is that the kids are spoiled rotten. They have never been forced to take responsibility for their actions. Parents, teachers, and coaches offer them the easy way to do things and, as we all know, the easy way is the wrong way.

  28. This current culture also presents coaches who are over recruiting for positions, selling untruths like a used car salesman and just flat out lying to these young men and women.
    Once you have them in your care and control, then a parent’s point of view doesn’t matter. Coaches make promises that they can’t and won’t keep. Then after all of the promises, leave for a better position, or at least they think, and leave these young people holding onto empty promises. Aren’t those athletes that were made all of those promises then “entitled” to some follow through. I don’t think that it’s far-fetched to believe that because of reputations and pressures put on coaches to win, because stipends and perks are at stake, that some of these coaches cross the line. Instilling integrity is one thing demeaning is another. The multitude of complaints sends a red-flag. I feel sorry for the first athlete that stood up and complained. It was that person that was depicted as a “cry-baby”. The sad part is similar to that of domestic violence victims, victims minimize the abuse. In this year alone there are just too many incidents. These colleges and universities don’t want the negative media attention, so under the rug it goes.

  29. Awesome read! As a coach of 21 years I can testify to the truth in this article. The points stated are the reasons I resigned from head coaching.

  30. I am a lifetime basketball player and coach from the inner city and basketball is life to me as well. I have played and coached at every level and raising two daughters who play the game as well. I’m very concerned about college coaches (males) who are verbally and mentally abusive to girls. There is also a culture growing amongst coaches in the girls game that they can say and do whatever they want to girls and then lie and act like they did nothing wrong. Some of these male coaches have been rejects from the male side and act tough and intimimidate girls. This is a serious culture growing in the game, whether it’s sexual, verbal, or emotional abuse is becoming a huge problem in women’s basketball. My younger daughter plays and I really want her to play for a woman coach, especially after my oldest daughters latest experience with an abusive male coach.

  31. Great article!!! I have a High School Senior that will go on to play baseball in college and we have raised him–“if you don’t like what you see, work harder. The way you get better is effort and time. If it’s their passion, they will work harder. It CANNOT be the parents passion!!!

  32. It doesn’t fall soley with club teams or parents to guide players. Every coach that comes into a players life can affect them positively or negatively…even at the collegiate level. I think all coaches need to hold bad seeds accountable. Honestly why not coach yourself? There are so many avenues open to you. Why not coach a club team yourself? Women’s basketball needs more strong women coaches to guide them, why leave this to your husband. Instead of say…do? Also, I appreciate your opinion, but now it questions how you view the team your husband is currently coaching. Maybe you could have addressed the team personally, why submit this article and shed a bad light on the organization? How will the players feel that come across this article?

  33. Thank you for speaking to this ‘epidemic’ in women’s basketball. Next, parents will follow these young adults into their workplace to insure their boss doesn’t place too much of a workload on them. This is out of control.


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