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New UMKC Basketball Coach Emphasizes The Little Things In Changing Program's Culture

Luke X. Martin
KCUR 89.3
UMKC Head Basketball Coach Jacie Hoyt speaks with Steve Kraske on KCUR's Up to Date.

Jacie Hoyt grew up in the basketball gym.

She watched her mother, Shelly Hoyt, build a program, emphasizing the importance of passion and work ethic. Only then came Hoxie High School's 107-game winning streak and four straight state championships. 

"Sometimes people get caught up in the big plays and the big moments and the state championships, but what I watched her do was start the foundation of that long before it came to fruition with the state titles," Hoyt says.

Hoyt credited her mother's success to the hard work that made up that foundation. She committed herself to the same high expectations.

At 14, Hoyt would snag her parents keys and head to the high school gym.

She took 1,000 shots, just like her role model, Jackie Stiles. Sometimes it took her five or six hours, but she made sure to finish every single one. 

That commitment transferred to her college and coaching career, where her competitive drive led to success. And now she's bringing that focus as the new UMKC women's basketball head coach. 

At 29, she's one of the youngest Division I coaches in the nation — both in men's or women's sports.

Coming from an assistant coaching position within the winning Kansas State women's basketball program, Hoyt is stepping into a not-so successful situation. UMKC's team has maintained a losing season for the last five years.

Though Hoyt plans to make an impact, she's not measuring it by wins. She wants to see the daily details done right.

"Its the difference between not touching a line and just stopping short one inch," Hoyt says. "Its the difference between getting frustrated and quitting on a drill with two seconds remaining."

With practice and strength training already underway, it is that drive that Hoyt is looking for to build a foundation of her own.

She says its all part of changing the culture. 

"If we compete and we do the little things right every single play, every single drill, every single hour, every single day, every single week, then we're going to be proud of what we accomplish," Hoyt says. 

Lexi Churchill is an intern for KCUR 89.3.