Fort Osage girls basketball coach Lindsay Thompson received a text message from Denise Craig, a former volleyball coach at Truman High School.
It was about a player she used to coach against when Thompson was the head coach at William Chrisman – Truman graduate Abby Hix.
“(Craig) told me ‘Abby was going to be ready to do her student teaching and she is looking to teach with you, would you like her contact information?’ I was like, Absolutely!’”
Hix, a former Examiner All-Area player and four-year player at Truman, was a college player for Georgia Southern and Nebraska-Kearney. She is aiming to finish with an education degree from Nebraska-Kearney this December and she will be student teaching with Thompson and will be an assistant coach for the girls.
Hix has considered a multitude of careers when she was in college. She started out as a journalism major before switching to education. Careers in coaching, athletic directing and being an English teacher were also on her radar.
Thompson added that there wasn’t a teacher opening at Fort Osage, but there was a spot for an assistant coach. Hix asked if she could volunteer, and Thompson had an easy decision.
“I am excited about her youthfulness and her energy,” said Thompson, whose team won 11 games last season after having won just two the year before. “I told her I wanted her to have a voice and I heard it during the first day of camp. I think the girls were learning a lot from her and I am excited for her to be a part of the Fort Osage family.”
Hix coached her first day of summer camp Wednesday and said she was more nervous for that than her first game at the NCAA Division I level.
“It’s been exciting,” said Hix, a sharpshooting all-state guard her senior year at Truman. “We have good talent and good potential.
“When you are done playing, sometimes you don’t want to be away from the game. I respected what coaches do because I wouldn’t have accomplished what I did without them. It’s sad when you’re done playing, so it’s nice to be back.”
She is especially looking forward to working with first-team all-Suburban Middle Six Conference point guard Kiyley Flowers, who will be a sophomore in the fall and is receiving interest from Division I teams like Hix once did.
“She is a lot further along than I was as a sophomore,” Hix said. “I will share some of my experience with her, good and bad, and hopefully I can be a good influence on her in choosing a school and helping her develop.”
And Thompson has been a big influence on Hix, who said she remembers the way her Chrisman teams played against her Patriots from 2011 to 2014.
“It was a rivalry but there was a mutual respect,” Hix said of when she played the Bears. “I always respected what (Thompson) did with her program and her kids always played so hard! Every time we played them, I knew they were going to come always tough. Her teams are always coming out to fight, and I saw that here from day one.”
Thompson said Hix has already made an impact.
“After practice, Abby said, ‘I think we need to get our varsity kids to make sure they are competing all the time, and they should never take plays off.’” Thompson said. “And I said, ‘Yes! That is exactly what we need.’ I appreciated that. This going to be fantastic and this is going to be a perfect fit.”