Felisha Legette-Jack: “More of a life coach than a basketball coach”

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“You give me 100%, I’ll give you 1000%. That’s just who we are.”

This is one of several inspirational quotes that UB Women’s Basketball Coach Felisha Legette-Jack uses to power her team through practice.

“Don’t wait to be discovered. Let’s start now.”

Coach Legette-Jack brings much more than words or platitudes to her young players. She is fostering a winning spirit that may shape all facets of her players’ lives, “we want more everytime we get out on the court. We want them to believe that whatever you dream in your mind you can accomplish through this sport. I want just a little bit more for you than that.”  

“You better be serious about them because she is the type of person to hold you to that standard every single day and to push you every single day until you reach them. I am only a sophomore and have already realized that,” said Hanna Hall, a guard on the team.

“She is more of a life coach than a basketball coach. She speaks in basketball terms, but she puts life aspects on it and it’s amazing,” said Cierra Dillard, a senior guard.

Legette-Jack was honored with UB campus ministry’s Newman Award last fall for the strong, positive values she exhibits in her career and the Western New York community.

She points to her now-ailing mother as the guiding force in her life. Her mother, powered by faith, worked three jobs to raise five children.

“I come from a mother who saw crosses burn in her yard and what they did was get on their knees and pray for the man for he could not know the lord. So, that is where I come from. That is who I am as a person,” said Legette-Jack.

She is also a record-setting Syracuse University basketball player. She graduated in 1989 as the all-time leading scorer and rebounder.

Legette-Jack described her style as “passionate.”

“I never did a finger roll in my life. I never took the ball between my legs. You won’t see fancy. You won’t see grace. You just see a person coming right through your chest.”

The fierce player took that passion and dived into coaching after graduation. She thought she would never marry.That was until she met her future husband, David, on a blind date.

“I looked into his eyes and I saw peace. I knew when I first met him that I was going to marry this man.”

Felisha and David’s son, Maceo, is a basketball stand-out at George Washington University. Along with advice for her son on the court, she speaks as a mother.

“Never believe that you are put on this earth to be average. There is something special in all of us.”

It is the same advice she gives her players. She has been in their sneakers and reminds them that character comes first – both on and off the court.

“She is such an empowering woman and so much more than just a basketball coach,” said Hall.  

“When the day I walk away, or the day God takes me home, they can say Felisha Legette-Jack – she lived it. She was it. She left it all out there. There was just nothing left for her to do.”

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