Ulsaker assumes alternative role

Four Lady Blues were honored on Senior Night 2010 after Saturday night's game Rose Hammond, Brette Ulsaker, Dayna Rodriguez and Amanda Fessenden. The Blues won 80-45 against Pittsburg State.

Louis Bourdeau

College students and sports fans may not realize how much time and effort student athletes put into their sports and what a commitment playing sports at the college-level is for those who play for Washburn University’s Ichabods and Lady Blues athletic teams.

Brette Ulsaker, a student assistant coach, senior and political science major with a minor in history from McPherson, Kan. is a prime example of the impact that collegiate sports can have on student athletes at Washburn. Ulsaker is a 5 foot 9 inch guard who originally played Division I women’s basketball for the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah and transferred to Washburn in order to be closer to her family in McPherson, Kan.

“Brette Uslaker transferred to Washburn from Utah to be closer to home,” said Ron McHenry, head coach for the Lady Blues. She was majoring in secondary education but she is now a political science major. She has a brother Christian Uslaker, a senior forward at McPherson High School who just recently signed with the Washburn University Ichabods men’s basketball team.”

Ulsaker’s love for the game is prevalent and she spends many hours helping her teammates to excel and try to win the M.I.A.A. Championships. The Lady Blues are always attempting to stay highly rated in the conference after winning the 2005 Division II National Championship.

“I love the competition and the finesse of the game. There’s a thrill when you hear the starting lineups and especially the national anthem. There’s nothing like winning that big game or making a big play. Moments like that make basketball an amazing sport to be a part of,” said Ulsaker.

Student athletes have many different interests and sometimes their time playing leads them to want to assist other players to learn from their experience. Ulsaker’s NCAA eligibility for playing time is over and so she has decided to help her teammates to succeed by being an assistant coach.

“I had some opportunities to play basketball but decided I really wanted to get my degree and pursue the coaching aspect. I’ve coached the McPherson High School teams every summer since I started college and found I really enjoyed it. I’ve also done lessons for girls and found I just love teaching the game to kids. On the floor as a player I always knew every players position in every offense and that’s an aspect I’ve tried to take with me this year as a coach,” said Ulsaker.

Ulsaker has taken the skills she learned as a player and put them to use assisting the current Lady Blues players. She assists Ron McHenry, Lady Blues head coach with making the calls on what plays to run each game.

“Her transitioning from player to coach has been very beneficial to me because of her knowledge of our system. She knows the system that we run and she helps me out a lot because I can bounce ideas off of her and I know she will help me make decisions that are beneficial in making the team succeed. Also, since she has matched-up against a lot of the other players that we still play against her knowledge of how to play against them is very beneficial to us. Brette Ulsaker influenced our other players because she was a leader on the court and she was just a winner,” said McHenry.