DEI Spotlight: New Colgate head coach Ganiyat Adeduntan
Ganiyat Adeduntan is an inspiration for female coaches and the Head Coach at Colegate University.
1. Why did you get into coaching?
I got into coaching because I not only love the game of basketball, but I also love teaching it. The game has taught me so much, and the opportunity to give my players that same experience is what fuels my passion. I consider the best part of what I do to be educating young women. I coach as an educator because I love to inspire, educate, empower and develop young women into leaders with a passion for excellence now and beyond their years in college.
2. How many years have you been coaching? I’ve been coaching now for 15 years.
3. Who has been your biggest influence in coaching and why? I have a combination of influencers- ranging from my high school to college coaches as well as some professors that I had in college who taught me how to help move people forward. Coaching is teaching, and as coaches, we help move people from one point to the next. As a player, most of my coaches were servant leaders. They taught me what it means to have a servant mentality to empower and uplift my players. I aim to serve their heart, talent, and mind; ultimately empowering their overall growth.
4. What do you enjoy most about coaching and why?
I’m a high achiever that is extremely competitive. I really enjoy winning and seeing the development of my players over months/years. My ultimate reward as a coach is to see a player’s potential and make them realize it’s possible. I understand that with coaching I have the power to influence my players to be better people and become the best versions of themselves- able to attack any and everything that they may encounter.
5. What has been one of the greatest lessons you have learned about life through coaching? Please explain.
As simple as this may sound, coaching has taught me to never give up. I’ve been in games as a player and as a coach where this mentality helped us in a come-from-behind win. I’ve been in seasons where having fight, determination and the never-give-up attitude resulted in an unexpected postseason championship. This attitude is my approach on days where I am personally struggling to get through a morning high-intensity workout or when adversity hits, and I embrace the discomfort with a never-give-up attitude knowing that growth will soon come.
6. What is your ultimate goal in coaching?
My ultimate goal in coaching is the same as my WHY for coaching. What drives me every day to feel successful is the impact that I am making on my players’ lives. The real and lasting wins are teaching young women the qualities basketball has taught me. The list is long but to name a few…teamwork, the pursuit of excellence, self-sacrifice, resilience, and self-worth. Regardless of the situation or circumstance my why will never change.
7. What has been your greatest lesson as a coach during the pandemic?
My greatest lesson during this pandemic can be summarized by the same word that I am using as my Jon Gordon “One Word” for the year, which is “patience”. I’ve learned to slow down a bit and to embrace unity a bit more than I am used to. I’ve embraced that I must be tolerant of things not happening when I believe they should, with my focus being solely on the things that I can control without getting annoyed or frustrated about the things that are completely outside of my control.
8. What has been one of the toughest lessons you have learned through coaching. Please explain.
As a coach, I've always felt that I can help save everyone and or those in need of saving through my words, actions, and genuine love and care for helping people. I believe that I am fully equipped and capable of executing situations, solving problems, and nurturing growth and development. Unfortunately, I had to go through a tough lesson to realize that although my heart is committed to helping others, I am never going to be able to save everyone despite giving my all and trying different strategies. This lesson taught me not to blame myself but to continue to lead in a way that serves.
9. As a minority coach, what do you feel has been the biggest challenge for minority coaches in the profession?
What I have seen is that minority coaches get boxed into what people think that they should be good at. To be blunt and direct, “the recruiter” is the label a lot of minority coaches are given. There is nothing wrong with being a recruiter, and I love this part of my job. However, as a minority coach, I feel that label brings about a negative connotation and implies recruiting players is our only strength. We can be just as capable of coaching x’s & o’s, developing players, scouting, and ultimately leading a program if given the right opportunity. I’ve seen that minority coaches do not always get the same amount of chances, whether that be the amount of time they are given to build or rebuild a program or another chance to lead a program if they were unsuccessful on their first try. Another challenge within this is people hire whom they know, and I believe that a lot of minority coaches lack exposure. As a result, the credentials and resume a minority coach presents must exceed others’ in order to be even considered for that next job.
10. Tell us something about yourself that people would be surprised to know about you.
I’m a Doctoral prepared Nurse Practitioner. I worked as a Registered Nurse and a Nurse Practitioner for years before getting into coaching basketball at the Division 1 level.