One of the elite girl's high school coaches in the country resides right here in the state of Arizona, as Head Coach Rachel Matakas has built Valley Vista High School's girl's basketball program into one of the top overall girl's basketball programs in the country. Currently in her 24th year of coaching, Matakas has her program once again eyeing another state championship, as we prepare for the state playoffs this week.
Here is my Q&A will legendary Coach Rachel Matakas . . .
Q: How long have you been coaching?
A: I have been coaching since I was 19 years old and high school for (24) years.
Q: Which schools or programs?
A: I was at Peoria High School from (1996-2006) and Valley Vista High School (2006-Present)
Q: Why do you coach?
A: I coach because I believe God has given my gifts, talents and a unique journey that I need to share with players who were like me, or in the same situation as me growing up.
Q: What are your expectations for this season?
A: My expectation is to see my athletes grow emotionally, physically and mentally. If we can do those (3) things then the other stuff takes care of itself.
Q: Who are your key players to watch this season?
A: Marisa Davis, Mikela Cooper and Alanis Delgado.
Q: What were the keys into keeping your program competitive year in and year out?
A: To keep it competitive, winning always helps. Developing and creating a culture and environment where athletes can improve in ALL facets as a player (Strength, prevention, skill development, IQ, Character, application of the game).
Q: What challenges did you face leading into this season due to the pandemic?
A: Athletes being gone a lot due to a variety of reasons. Did not have all my athletes on the floor at the same time, until the week before we played Xavier.
Coach Matakas is not just a basketball coach, but rather a pillar in her community that has worked hard to develop her student-athletes and prepare them for life. Her players are prepared for life during and after basketball, as a result of her extreme focus and passion for the game and for life. Coach Matakas is an inspiration today for younger coaches looking to develop a balance between being a coach and a mentor for their players. She does not ever hold back on her delivery, and coaches with an extreme passion for living and producing excellence on and off the basketball court. I have been a fan of Rachel Matakas for many years, and look forward to seeing her team go for it all again behind her extreme leadership.