It has been a treat in putting together Arizona Preps’ Coaches Spotlight Series. We at Arizona Preps are very grateful for all our coaches. Our coaches are undervalued and our Senior Editor (Anthony Ray) and myself wanted to do something to put coaches on a platform. We want to recognize the hard work and commitment these men and women put in throughout the year changing lives. We applaud all of our state’s coaches for their commitment and efforts for our youth.
I had the pleasure of sitting down with legendary girl’s basketball coach Karen Self. Coach Self has been coaching for nearly 30 years. She has built Seton Catholic into one of the most respected and decorated programs the state has ever seen. Under Coach Self’s leadership, the Lady Sentinels won (11) state championships and (5) state runner-up finishes. Here is our Q&A:
Q: How long have you been coaching? Which schools or programs?
A: This Is my 29th year coaching, all at Seton Catholic in Chandler.
Q: Why do you coach?
A: I hope that my "why" in coaching is evident when you see our teams play. I love to help our young ladies develop their game to the fullest extent possible, while at the same time helping them develop important skills that will serve players well in their off-court lives. One of the best things about coaching is connecting with players who become your lifelong friends.
Q: What are your expectations for this season?
A: As for this season, we would love to win our Region Championship, and make another deep run in the playoffs. This season looks to be the most competitive for a 4A title in many years.
Q: Who are your key players to watch this season?
A: Key players for us have to be Amanda Barcello, Lexi McNabb and Sasha Daniel. They are our (3) leading scorers, and really set the tone for us defensively. Versatile and athletic, they always seem to find a way to impact every game.
Q: What were the keys into keeping your program competitive year in and year out?
A: I think our defense is what makes us consistently competitive. We pride ourselves on holding opponents consistently below their scoring average. Our defense also generates a lot of easy buckets to get our offense going. We also take great pride in sharing the basketball, and giving everyone a green light to shoot. We try to make sure our players know that we not only believe in them, but we count on them to make an impact while on the floor. We rarely have the same leading scorer (2) games in a row. That makes us tough to defend. Through great leadership from our veteran players, this is consistently handed down, season after season. As Jay Bilas (ESPN Analyst) says, "winning is a by-product of doing things right." I believe this is the type of culture where our players thrive.
Q: What challenges did you face leading into this season due to the pandemic?
A: The whole situation has been so challenging for everyone. Our tiny struggles are nothing compared to those who have lost loved ones. Our prayers are with everyone who has faced difficulties due to Covid. We are grateful everyday that we have a season and get a chance to play this great game.
Coach Self is continuing to add to her legacy by building a juggernaut of a program at Seton Catholic. She is a selfless leader who continues to inspire and build young women of high character. Arizona Preps looks forward to spotlighting more of Arizona’s best high school coaches.