Since her playing career ended eight years ago, Andrea Stinson has spent her time coaching at the middle school and high school levels, but her outlook on her new career path changed last August.
Becky Hammon’s move to the San Antonio Spurs bench — on Aug. 5, 2014 — was immediately viewed as groundbreaking. Stinson, the head girls varsity coach at Newtown-Conover High School in North Carolina, was just one of the many women it impacted.
“She has done wonders for us. She’s opened doors,” Stinson said on Sunday, when she joined 22 other coaches at the NBA Development League’s annual National Tryout in New York City.
“I never really looked at getting in the NBA until she got in, and I’m like, ‘Why not?'”
Stinson’s resume as a player is extensive: former Miss Basketball in North Carolina; third on NC State’s all-time scoring list (2,136 points); three-time Italian League All-Star (1994-97); WNBA All-Star who played eight seasons for the Charlotte Sting after the launch of the league in 1997.
It’s her coaching resume that she hoped to boost by getting involved in Sunday’s event.
“I love basketball. I coach high school now and my ultimate goal is to coach either NBA or WNBA,” she said. “I thought this was a program that I could get into to feel my way through to see if I really want to coach.”
Stinson said she had initial doubts about whether she had the motivational skills to make the transition to the sideline after her retirement in 2005; teaching the game was the easy part.
But years of experience back home built up her confidence to the point where this year she applied for the National Basketball Players Association’s coaching program that she passed on a year ago.
On Saturday, she was one eight coaches — including former Connecticut Sun WNBA Draft pick and current University of Richmond assistant Cori Chambers — who participated in a six-hour coaching seminar run by NBA D-League veteran coach Bob MacKinnon.
Stinson called friend Stephanie Ready, who became the first woman to ever coach a men’s pro sports team with the NBA D-League’s Greenville Groove in 2001, for advice in advance of Sunday’s tryouts. She coached one of the 20 teams through a 30-minute practice and two scrimmage games.
For now, Stinson sees her second career as just her way of paying it forward.
“It makes me feel good to be able to share what I learned over the years with younger kids,” the 47-year-old said. “So that way they can learn and play and they can teach somebody else.”