Feb. 13, 2014
MADISON, Wis. - After playing overseas in Germany, former Badger Anya Covington is back on the court serving as a graduate assistant for the Northern Illinois women’s basketball team. Covington played at Wisconsin from 2008-12, earning honorable mention All-Big Ten honors and serving as team captain during her tenure.
UWBadgers.com caught up with Anya to find out about her switch to coaching.
What was it like continuing your playing career in with Rhein Main Baskets in Germany?
It was an interesting journey. I am so grateful for the experience. It was rewarding in some regards continuing to play after college and continuing to see years of hard work pay off. I absolutely loved being in another country, learning a different language and meeting so many new people.
The basketball aspect was thrilling as well! We traveled the entire country in vans and managed to win some games along the way. To sum it up, it was a huge blessing but not without its difficulties and ups and downs! But the best part was playing with Alyssa Karel one more year!
Your season there was cut short by injury. Can you tell us what happened?
I've had bad ankles for a long time now but I never saw it that way. Well, when you can no longer walk there is a problem! Even in college I had to get my ankles tapped and wear ankle braces and by my senior year I had the privilege of wearing special tape that was about as thick as wearing two pairs of socks!
By mid-season of my professional career, I managed to tear multiple ligaments and tendons in my left ankle, accumulated a bone cyst and had loose bone floating through my ankles destroying my cartilage, resulting in me having ankle reconstruction surgery in May. No worries though I was running full court last week and Bobbie would be proud to know I got a few transition baskets.
How did you get involved in coaching at NIU under former UW assistant Kathi Bennett?
Coach B made a huge impact on my life as player – not only me but all my teammates. The cornerstones that she implemented as our defensive strategy and team foundation was rooted in biblical principles that willed us to do one of the hardest things in the world, serve others without putting "I" before the team. A three-cord bond is stronger than one. I reached out to Coach B while I was overseas and the rest is history.
Have you always wanted to coach?
No! I saw the window of opportunity to really impact lives in a positive way while in college and in college attained a passion for it. But my plan since I was about 10 was to become a lawyer, possibly a judge and then one day the president. Yes, of the United States!
What is the biggest difference you've seen as a player vs. coach?
Definitely the time commitment of scouts and film. Also the many people that make game day and the program successful! It’s so much bigger than just those 40 minutes that help foster success.
You're a graduate assistant so what are you majoring in?
I'm currently in the sports management program but I may be entering a dual program soon. The future is bright.
What are your career goals in coaching?
The ultimate goal is help lead young women to their greatest potential and truth individually and as a team. For these young ladies to come into a program that I'm a part of and leave more confident, self-aware and mature wholly – for them to understand their purpose. As I was told by a good woman before, to help them reach greatness. That alone is one of my greatest goals. Much success will follow when those involved know their worth and importance.
I was and am so very blessed to have been a player and student of UW. No other place can compare! Go Badgers and always On, Wisconsin!