Get to Know a Coach is a summer feature profiling Summit League head coaches with a Q&A. These coaches provide a glimpse into their personal life away from their sport.
In this week's installment, Western Illinois' head women's basketball coachJD Gravina is profiled.
Name: JD Gravina
School: Western Illinois
Sport: Women's Basketball
Seasons (Overall // School): 12th // 6th
Alma Mater: William Jewell '00
If you were not a coach, what job would you be doing? If I couldn't coach anymore, I would definitely be a college professor. I still would like to have an impact on young people and be a part of the learning process. Plus, as a professor I'd never lose any games or have any students that have to sit on the bench and not play. Also, there are no injuries in the classroom. Now that I think about it, the idea is starting to grow on me!
What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives? Adopt a dog! There are so many sweet dogs out there that just need a chance and will give you ENDLESS love.
What fad/trend do you hope makes a comeback? Short socks. I hate wearing the long ones that are popular now when I play.
Why did you decide to become a coach? Coaching was always something I enjoyed and that came naturally with me. I love the competitiveness. It never felt like work for me… it's still hard to believe that my JOB is to be a part of a basketball team.
What is something you will NEVER do again? Sled in sweatpants. I know that sounds funny but when I was really little I put sweats on to go sledding. It just seemed like they'd be warm. Needless to say they got soaking wet. My legs got so cold I broke out in hives. For four or five years, every time I got a little cold my legs broke out in hives.
What are some of the events in your life that made you who you are today? Losing my mom to cancer definitely had a huge impact on me. She taught me to be myself, be passionate about what I do, and seek out happiness in my life. Having kids also changed me for the better. It put things in perspective and gave me even more empathy than I already had.
Who is your favorite professional sports team and/or athlete? The Kansas City Royals!
What is/was your favorite article of clothing that you have ever owned? My Summit League Championship T-shirt!
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received? Best – If you have a job you love you'll never work a day in your life. Worst – To potty train my daughter in two days.
What is the weirdest food you have ever eaten? I'm super picky and don't try anything new or crazy… but I do LOVE marshmallow peeps and people seem to think that is weird.
What mythical creature do you wish actually existed? I'm not sure if it counts as 'mythical' but I really wish wookies like Chewbacca from Star Wars existed. I love that guy!
What is your favorite movie/TV show? My favorite movie is Tin Cup and my favorite TV show is either The Office or Seinfeld.
What was the best thing to happen to you this year? This was a great year. My son Dominic was born and our team won the league and went to the NCAA Tournament. Cutting down the nets twice was definitely a dream come true.
What is/was your favorite vacation destination? It's a tie between Las Vegas, the Lake of the Ozarks, and Hawai'i.
What is your biggest superstition? I always vacuum during the day of home games. Not really a superstition but it definitely helps my stress.
What kind of music do you listen to most frequently? I love the Coffee House on satellite radio. My assistants hate riding with me to recruiting events because it puts them to sleep.
If you could add one Summit League athlete to your team, who would you choose? Wow that's a tough one. I have seen so many good players in the league. I'd probably take Tia Hemiller. I always loved her toughness and leadership.
What is your one "go to" stop (dining, entertainment, other) on any Summit road trip? Café Brule in Vermillion has the best White Chocolate Mochas ever!
What phrase/quote do you most frequently use to inspire your team? To thine own self be true.
What is your biggest pet peeve? Chalkboards! Oh, and when people use "apart" when they mean "a part." As in, "I'm thankful to be apart of this program."