RaShawn Calvert: From the floor, to the bench


Having pleasure in the job puts perfection in the works, and while the world’s greatest achievers have been those who have always stayed focused on their goals, those have been the ones consistent in their efforts. Here to tell her story of love for the game and her endless efforts, 22 year-old RaShawn Calvert, who has made her transition from being a leader on the floor, to helping orchestrate a team from on the bench.

“I used to play tennis, volleyball, and I ran track…but basketball was the most fun to me,” said Calvert. “I played the other sports when I absolutely had to, which was usually just practice and games, but basketball, I played it at any possible chance I had.”

Thanks to her parents, who she says are the main reason she took such an interest in basketball, Calvert has kept basketball as her prime focus dating all the way back to high school at East Grand Rapids.

“I took it (basketball) very serious. In high school, I played year round, so once the school’s season was over, it was time to play Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) basketball as well as American Youth Basketball Tour (AYBT) travel ball,” Calvert said. She continued, “I knew I would be depending on a basketball scholarship for college eventually.”

If you haven’t guessed by now, Calvert is one of the most competitive females you could possibly meet, and as we all know, no competitor likes to lose. Despite having a nice selection of schools to choose from at the height of her senior year, the team’s final loss of the season being the district championship, would send coaches packing. Little did they know, it would be their programs taking an L, as one school waited out the storm just to speak to RaShawn and offer the one player that many schools grew impatient with.

From 2012 – ‘16, Calvert would be self-investing her time and dedication at Siena Heights University, located in Adrian, Mich., but why Siena Heights?

“Siena Heights gave me the home away from home feeling, and as well as I remember very specifically to this day, my very last basketball game of my high school season which was the district championship game versus Catholic Central,” Calvert said. She continued, “I had multiple college coaches there watching me, but after we lost in overtime, I just remember sitting in the locker room for quite a while, sad because my high school season was actually over. It was well over an hour before I came out, but when I finally came out to the gym to meet my family, I noticed them waiting on me in the dark along with Siena Heights assistant basketball coach, Sara Chrenko. Coach Sara was the only college coach that stayed there to speak with me, and from that moment right there, I knew Siena Heights was for me.”

But don’t get it twisted, while RaShawn was dedicated to the game’s fundamentals, she was also dedicated to the academic aspects as well. When asked about college preparation from a student athlete perspective, her response was nothing short of confident.

“Yes, both academically and basketball wise, I felt well prepared for college as a student athlete,” Calvert said. “East Grand Rapids more than prepared me for college level academics, while my parents and coaches always kept me ready for a challenge physically in basketball. Going from 5 a.m. practices, to class and back to team practice, more than anything, I learned that time management would be the key to success as a student athlete.”

And that it was, as she balanced a full workload on the court and in the classroom, earning her bachelor’s degree in psychology May, 2016. While RaShawn’s playing days may have been over, her impact on the court was just getting started, landing a position on the bench for McPherson College, located in McPherson, Kans., thanks to Siena Heights head coach, Sue Syljebeck who nominated Calvert for a coaching class back in 2012.

“Coach Syljebeck had nominated me for the So You Want to be a Coach, class program through the Women’s Basketball Coaching Association (WBCA) back in 2012,” Calvert said. “I attended the Women’s Final Four that year as well as classes on learning skills to become a coach, through my coaches today in women’s basketball on all levels. Once all the classes concluded, I was able to apply for positions through the NCAA market, where McPherson College was listed. I interviewed over the phone, flew out for a visit, and packed up my belongings and moved out there within two months.”

Calvert, who is only a year into her position, shows little limitations as to what she can and can’t do as a graduated assistant for the Bulldogs.

“My role with the team is head coach for the junior varsity team, as well as assistant coach for the varsity,” said Calvert. “I run my own practices, drills and plays for the junior varsity while often being tasked with leading practices for varsity as well as implementing any plays I may come up with and assist with the programs recruiting.” She later went on to call her roles with the team fortunate, as her roles are a bit more expanded than the typical graduated assistant tasks.

“I’d say there aren’t many graduated assistants out there who get to do as much as I do, therefore gaining so much experience which is helping me flourish as a leader as well as a coach.”

The Bulldogs are led by fourth year head coach, Gordon Reimer, who Calvert says has been nothing short of a great learning experience.

“The only way you can truly learn and grow is with experience, and by Coach Reimer allowing me to head coach the junior varsity team and even head over some things within the varsity practices, I don’t think I would have got this much experience anywhere else so I’m thankful,” said Calvert.

When asked the hardest part of what she does, Calvert replied with a smile, “You can’t go out there and just do it yourself anymore.” Asked where she seen her career in the next five years, she gave the most optimistic, yet determined answer you could imagine. “In the next five years, I see myself head coaching a college team either at the junior college (JUCO) level or at the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) level.” Calvert continued, “I ultimately want to head coach at an NAIA school, just because I played NAIA and know the ins and outs of it and also want to be able to hold a great career within coaching while still being able to manage an at home life.”

A leaders job is not to do the work for others, it’s to help others figure out how to do it themselves, to get things done and to succeed beyond what they thought possible. Based off of her previous work ethic, time management and determination, there’s no reason anyone should put her career aspirations past her, as she has a solid foundation and plan set for herself in order to achieve her personal success, as her ceiling remains high.

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Fun w/ RaShawn:

  1. Top 3 sports movies: Love and Basketball, Coach Carter, and Space Jam

  2. Favorite basketball player: Russell Westbrook

  3. Favorite basketball team: Warriors

  4. Favorite professional coach: Dawn Staley

  5. Jordan, Kobe or LeBron: LeBron

  6. Is UConn’s women’s basketball winning pedigree fun to watch or too predictable? I Love it!

  7. Does sugar go in spaghetti? Yes

  8. Drake, J. Cole or Kendrick? Kendrick

  9. One thing I can’t stand is _____ . People who down play women sports.

  10. Favorite quote: Walk by faith, not by sight. 2 Corithians5:7

  11. Celebrity or athlete crush: Morris Chestnut

  12. One thing you secretly do when no one’s around: Sing

  13. Last t.v. show you binge watched: Empire

  14. If you had a set spending limit and could afford only three tier 1 actors and/or actresses and were in charge of making the next greatest movie, what top 3 actors or actress’s would you choose? Denzel Washington, Halle Berry, and Will Smith

  15. Your family is in a major financial crisis and it’s up to you to get them out, what game show are you getting on to solve your family’s financial woes? Family Feud

  16. Your 2017 NBA finals prediction and in how many games? Warriors in 7


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