Growing up in Northwest Arkansas, the McKinney family had a little bit of a tradition. Every Sunday during basketball season, we would go to church at St. Paul’s, then go to lunch at Jose’s, then go to the Lady’Back game at Bud Walton Arena and sit in the Lil’Back Club behind the basket. The games would tip off at 2:00. We watched some of the best women’s basketball in the country at the time. Tennessee, LSU, Vandy, and Georgia were tough; so was the entire conference. I even had my birthday party there. Once Verizon Arena was built in Little Rock, the SEC tournament was hosted there multiple times. We went every time it was there. I think going to these games prompted me to fall in love with the game of basketball. Coach Blair and his family attended St. Paul’s as well. Sometimes, Coach Blair would bring the team to church with him. I was starstruck. Players would come and go, but certain players made a little more of an impact on me: Shameka Christon, Christy Smith, Wendi Willits, India Lewis, Dana Cherry, Celia Anderson, Sarah Pfeifer, Ruby Vaden, Sytia Messer, and Amy Wright.
Now, Amy Wright is an assistant coach at Texas A&M University for Gary Blair. She began her career at the University of South Florida before moving on to Western Kentucky, and Cleveland State. Hailing from Williamsburg, Indiana, Wright chose to play collegiately at the University of Arkansas under Coach Gary Blair. As a point guard at the U of A, Wright set the all-time (717) and season (205) records for assists. She also holds the record for most career turnovers (445), which is actually quite impressive when you consider her 717 assists (1.61 assist:turnover ratio). Most impressive is the fact that Wright never missed a game in 131 contests. Over the course of her career, she led the Lady’Backs to four consecutive post-season appearances, including a WNIT championship and a WNIT semifinal run.
Last week, I decided to email Coach Wright to see if she would be willing to answer some questions, with the answers to be posted here. She was amazing. She responded to each of my eleven questions and emailed me back within 24 hours. Here is what she said (emphases mine):