When she first accepted a head coaching position, Claudette Charney was just a few years older than her basketball players.
She also had to work at three other jobs in addition to coaching part time at Muskegon Community College to make ends meet.
"It was a great experience," Charney said. "We understood back then that it wasn't the salary that made it a great job, it was the experience. I was doing everything, from taping ankles to making travel arrangements to recruiting."
Charney has coached women's basketball since, including for seven seasons at Grand Valley (1995-2002). She has been the head women's basketball coach at Hillsdale College for the past 13 seasons. Last year, Charney became only the 11th women's basketball coach in NCAA Division II to win 500 games.
She also serves as Hillsdale's associate athletic director and director of compliance. Moving into an administrative role has helped Charney build relationships with more student-athletes, something she relishes.
"It's so positive for the student-athlete to see you as an administrator and a coach. They can have a conversation with you on many different levels," she said.
She was a standout basketball player for the Lakers and the Cardinals of Saginaw Valley State University. Charney remains on Grand Valley's list of Top 10 scorers and rebounders; she was inducted into the Laker Athletic Hall of Fame for track and basketball in 1990.
Charney transferred to Grand Valley to earn a degree in physical education, something SVSU did not offer at the time. She planned to teach at the middle school level until Joan Boand told her about the coaching opportunity at Muskegon Community College. Boand was then an administrator in Grand Valley's Athletic Department.
Grateful for the counseling and mentorship she received in college, Charney does the same for her student-athletes. "I try to be a role model and an example of being the best person I can be physically and spiritually," she said.
Page last modified September 11, 2013