Do what you love, says Wingate coach

Jan. 10, 2013 @ 06:39 PM

Ann Hancock, Wingate University's head women's basketball coach, spoke about her life experiences and encouraged attendees to do what they love during the Union County Chamber of Commerce's Women in Business Luncheon Thursday.

In addition to emphasizing encouraging words and themes, she also commented on lessons she learned in life and how they helped shape her career and who she is today.

Hancock started her speech by commenting on the overall event and how she was happy to see so many women involved.

"I'm really excited to be here to speak with you today. Most of the time when I speak at these events, it's usually a majority of men so this is really exciting to see how many women are in business and networking with each other," Hancock said.

On May 16, 2012, Wingate University announced Hancock's appointment as the university's head women's basketball coach. She is the fourth coach in Wingate's storied women's basketball history. She recently spent two seasons as an assistant women's basketball coach at East Carolina University. Before then, she was the head women's basketball coach at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington for ten seasons.

In the past, she played basketball for Wingate and scored 2,195 throughout her basketball career there and as a senior, led the school in scoring with 19.9 points per game. In 1992 she was named the NCAA Woman of the Year for North Carolina. She was Wingate's first-ever Academic All-America selection in 1990, according to the Union County Chamber of Commerce's website.

"Everyday when I get up and I put on my tennis shoes and I lace up my tennis shoes, I know that I'm doing the right thing because high heels and pantyhose are the worst inventions ever in the history of the world. That's basically how I decided what I wanted to do," Hancock said Thursday.

She always wanted to be able to dress comfortably in her work and first became interested in becoming a coach in high school, she said.

As she spoke Thursday afternoon, she included more comical statements and stories that entertained as well as emphasized key points she wanted the audience to take away. In one story, she spoke about a basketball player she coached who wanted to be the star scorer on the team but couldn not shoot well. After speaking with the player, she encouraged her to strive to become the best defensive player in the league instead, which the player eventually did by focusing more on her defensive skills and eating Doritos before practice.

"She (the player) went and told the point guard, 'I am going to guard you full court everyday and I am going to eat Doritos and I'm going to breathe on you and you're going to hate me,' and she did that. She would eat Doritos every day before practice and would breathe right up on her," Hancock said.

She used this story to emphasize her point about sometimes having to fit into the role you are given. Her speech also emphasized the importance of accountability, managing change, healthy competitiveness, always having cash when you travel and other tips.

"The buck stops with you," Hancock said.

She added that the phrase, "It's not my fault," should not be in anyone's vocabulary.

People are the ones in charge of their lives and ultimate happiness. The type of work you do and other aspects of your everyday life are influenced by the choices you make, Hancock said.

After she spoke, attendees of the luncheon asked more questions about her life and experiences and some stayed afterwards to speak with her more.

"We're responsible for our happiness and success," Hancock said in reference to what she hopes people take away from the event.

Many attendees of the luncheon said they enjoyed hearing Hancock speak and found a lot of what she said encouraging.

"I loved hearing her experiences and how she's taken good and bad experiences into making a career for herself," Kelly Norton, executive director of the Literacy Council of Union County, said.

Justin Vanderwalker, an account executive for Time Warner Cable, said he especially liked a quote Hancock made about adversity being a preparation for greatness.

The quote came during a part of Hancock's speech in which she spoke about being discouraged after leaving UNC Wilmington after 10 seasons but found a way to move on in her career and continue enjoying what she does.

He has dealt with some adversity in 2012 and saw Hancock's words as inspirational and encouraging, Vanderwalker said.

"I love it, I thought it was dead on," Sharon Rosché, president of the Union County Chamber Commerce, said in reference to Hancock's words during the event.

She especially liked the overall mentoring message the speech had, she said.

Similar Women in Business Luncheons are being planned for later this year. For more information about the Union County Chamber of Commerce or future Women in Business Luncheons visit or call 704-289-4567.