Coach profile of the week: Brette Herber

From player to coach, Brette Herber is an Ichabod for life. Herber is currently an assistant coach for the women’s basketball team. For the year, the women’s team is 11-5 under her lead.

Herber grew up in McPherson, Kansas. From there she went to play basketball for the University of Utah for a season. After her freshman year, she transferred to Washburn to finish her career. During her time at Washburn, she was the MIAA defensive player of the year for her senior year. 

When she played at Washburn, she helped coach for her old high school in the summers. After she used up all of her playing eligibility, she became a student assistant for the Ichabods. Even though she had experience, she was ready for something a little different.

“I had played Division I and Division II basketball, but I really wanted to coach Junior College, where I coached under Jim Turgeon, [brother to Maryland Men’s Basketball head coach Mark Turgeon.] There I got some great experience before I came back to Washburn,” Herber said.

Once she graduated, she went to Iowa Western Community College as an assistant coach. 

She enjoyed her time at Iowa Western, but knew she wanted something better. A job opened up as an assistant coach at Washburn and she knew she had to take it. Since 2013, Herber has been an assistant coach with the Ichabods.

Herber has two siblings, both of whom have ties to Washburn. Herber and her husband of almost seven years, Matt, have one kid named Grayson. Herber takes pride in her connections to the university. 

“My family is kind of a Washburn family. My sister is a junior here, and my brother actually played basketball at Washburn as well. However, my husband did not attend Washburn,” Herber said. 

After playing high school basketball and collegiate basketball and continuing to coaching, Herber has loved the game for as long as she can remember. Now that she has spent all of her professional career coaching basketball, she is certain there is nothing that she would rather do. 

“I am a competitive person. I love the finesse of the game and the fundamentals of the game. I like being in the action and getting excited,” Herber said. “Sometimes when I am on the bench, I would be on the court with the kids, I love it so much. I love the relationships that come with it too, especially with this group. The bond and the connection that they all have is hard to find with a bunch of girls.”

The players love Herber as much as she loves them. Junior guard Alexis McAfee believes that since Herber’s history at Washburn makes her a great resource to learn from.

“I think what makes Coach Brette great is her passion for the game. She was a player here too, so she really wants us to succeed at all costs. This helps us work better and harder every day,” McAfee said. 

For coaches at the collegiate level, finding extra time outside of coaching comes at a cost. Herber, like all other coaches, likes to spend her free time doing the things that she loves.

“I love horseback riding. I do not get to do it as much anymore now that I am older but when I was a kid, it was playing basketball and riding horses,” Herber said. “My husband and I are huge Sporting Kansas City fans. He played soccer in college, so I love going to Sporting KC games, and likewise, Royals games. We are pretty much sports junkies.”

Even though Herber’s playing days are over, she continues to make a strong impact for the women’s program at Washburn. Watch out for the Ichabods to make some noise under Herber’s lead.