Alysa Horn finished her first season as assistant coach at the University of Alaska Anchorage, helping guide the Seawolves to a remarkable 38-3 record and a berth in the NCAA Division II National Championship Game this past season. The team won the Great Northwest Athletic Conference regular season and tournament titles, and the NCAA Division II West Regional Title. The Seawolves’ 38 victories is an NCAA Division II record.
Tell us a little about your background?
Being an Alaskan, I have been active my whole life — from the day I finally got the training wheels off my bike to growing up on mountains (snowboarding in the winters and hiking/mountain biking in the summers). I grew up on Kodiak Island in the Gulf of Alaska where I drive five minutes to go hiking or five minutes in the opposite direction to go kayaking and fishing. However, there weren't many opportunities to develop my true passion as a basketball player; so, I had to find the keys to my high school gym and learn the game as best I could during the offseason.
When did you know you wanted to be a coach?
After graduating college, I spent two years playing professionally in Germany and one summer in Australia. I soon realized my true passion wasn't in playing; it was in helping others achieve their dreams. That has come in the form of not only being an assistant for the University of Alaska Anchorage women's program, but also as a personal trainer, group fitness coach and individual skills development coach (before having signed an NCAA contract, of course). I've also spent two summers working in San Diego for Wellspring Camps (a weight loss camp for teenagers/kids) and volunteering on two different continents with Special Olympic athletes. These experiences have greatly impacted me, and reaffirmed that I'm in the right profession!
Do you have any pregame rituals?
I used to be serious about pregame rituals as a player. The only thing that has carried through today as a coach is a big cup of coffee an hour or two before the game.
What is/are the most challenging part(s) of your role?
The most challenging part about being an assistant is figuring out the best way to be good at your job. My biggest challenge has been sitting at a desk and doing all the necessary things needed in the office. Not to mention shopping for game days.
Briefly state your coaching philosophy. What values are important to you that you try to instill in your student-athletes?
My philosophy coincides with that of the head coach of the program, which is to develop a family atmosphere and become the best person you can be. This to me means approaching each day with a good attitude, regardless of how you feel. You must be ready to compete and put in the necessary work to achieve the goals of the team. It is also vital to stay on track in school, give back to the community, care about teammates — on as well as off the court — and make college an overall positive and memorable experience.
What is your favorite memory in your current coaching role thus far?
Making it to the National Championship Game in Indianapolis with the NCAA Division I and Division III teams.
What does it mean to you to be recognized as a WBCA “Thirty Under 30” honoree?
It means I work with incredible coaches who I get to learn from every day. Coaches who make me a better coach and person. It also means we have an amazing group of young ladies who are not only awesome athletes but great people.
The WBCA recognizes annually the WBCA's Thirty Under 30 recipients. This recognition was created to honor thirty of the up-and-coming women's basketball coaches age 30 and under in the sport at all levels of the game. For more information on the award, click here.