Misty Wilson has been hired as the women’s basketball head coach after former head coach Lynn Plett’s departure following the 2022-2023 season.
Wilson, a single mother to her daughters, said that her family has been very supportive throughout her journey in coaching.
“My mom was a huge help when my girls were younger. [She] would come stay with them when I had to go out of town for basketball trips. She lived an hour away and was there almost every time I was away. My girls have been so supportive because they have to share me with the team. In their eyes, my teams have always been like an extended family,” she said.
Wilson began playing basketball in sixth grade and immediately fell in love with the sport. She was first placed on the B team and moved to A team after showing how intense and aggressive she could be on the court. Her time in junior high led to her early success moving into the high school level.
“I was one of two sophomores on the varsity team. That team was pretty special and was later inducted into the Burleson High School Hall of Fame because of its success. [The Amateur Athletic Union] was just becoming a big deal while I was in high school, but my family could not afford it, so I made the most of my opportunity playing for my high school team,” Wilson said.
Wilson also ran track and qualified for regional track meets in multiple events including relays, sprints and long jump.
After high school, Wilson joined the Tarleton State University women’s basketball team, which was DII at the time. After her college career came to an end, she was inducted into the Hall of Fame. “My athletic career was driven by my competitive nature; I love to compete, and I love to play sports, any sport,” she said.
Wilson has been coaching for 22 years. She was an assistant coach for 12 years and is in her 10th year as a head coach. She said she went into coaching because of a post-graduation opportunity and because of her love of sports.
“I knew I wanted a profession that would allow me to be in sports because I am a sports fanatic. I actually had no plans to be a college coach but got an opportunity to become an assistant the year I finished playing in college and immediately fell in love with coaching young women in life and basketball,” she said.
Wilson’s experience with education also informed her decision to start coaching. She was a student teacher for a middle school sixth grade physical education class and enjoyed working in that environment.
She decided to take a similar path after graduation and was then given an opportunity to be a collegiate-level assistant coach. This was a big step in her goal to become a head coach.
Wilson said she even coached her daughters in soccer. “They would probably tell you that I coached them in every sport they played, because I was always pushing them no matter what sport they were playing. I also taught Racquetball classes for a little while. … As a career, though, I have never coached a sport other than basketball,” she said.
Wilson’s biggest inspiration is her mother. “She worked hard and sacrificed to give us every opportunity we had, and, for a little while, did it as a single mother. While she didn’t understand my competitive nature, she supported and encouraged me in everything I did with her presence. She was at every event she could be at, near or far,” she said.
She also had many coaches that made an impact on her life by supporting and encouraging her throughout her journey.
Wilson mentioned that the most consistent inspiration she has each year is the players.
“I love being a part of their lives and I love to witness the growth they experience on and off the floor. That is a big motivator for me — what inspires me day in and day out, year in and year out. That is the most rewarding part of this profession …The relationships with my players,” she said.
Wilson was drawn to take over the basketball program by the team administration’s strong desire for the team to be great again. She said UCCS has a lot to offer as a campus and there were already key pieces in place.
The team’s goals for this season are not focused on wins and losses. One of their biggest goals is to finish in the top three of RMAC, despite being chosen to finish ninth in the preseason poll. Wilson hopes to help the team reach that goal by encouraging excitement.
“I encouraged our players to think big on the court, but also off the court. I challenged them with bringing some excitement back to Gallogly and the UCCS campus. Winning does that. You can energize a campus by winning, and that is something they have taken seriously,” Wilson said.
She also wants to emphasize academic excellence, making it a goal for the team to finish with a collective 3.5 GPA average. She said she hopes that each player will see themselves as “stronger, more capable, and more confident than when they started their journey.”
Wilson thinks that the Mountain Lions have experienced successes beyond the records people see. She said they have adjusted to high staff-turnover rates and the new program well.
“They have worked and sacrificed to be where they are right now, and they deserve so much of the credit because it is not easy. This is an outstanding group of young women; they have been remarkable to coach and are outstanding ambassadors for UCCS. My short time here has been great because of them.”
Coach Wilson and the team celebrate during a fall 2023 game. Photo by Lillian Davis.