Video by Carrie Clark

During an interview for the documentary Game On: Women Can Coach, Cheryl Reeve, head coach and general manager of the Minnesota Lynx, reflects on pivotal moments that helped shaped her life and career. The common thread in her stories?

FEMALE ROLE MODELS 

Growing up in a sports-centric family, Reeve’s interest in sports began to flourish at a young age. Even at ten years old, she was the only girl on the boys peewee baseball team, and her interest in sports only grew as she aged.

During her middle school years, Reeve contemplated a life-long career in sports, and in high school, someone saw that passion. Her female basketball coach recognized her talent and encouraged her to apply for a basketball scholarship.

“My high school coach, who was a female, really wanted to help me with opportunities for life after high school. And she was the one that directed me…so I appreciate so much my high school coach who just got it!”

This encouragement was the catalyst that started Reeve’s career, both as an athlete and a coach.

She went on to play college basketball for La Salle University and received many awards. After schooling, Reeve coached for her alma mater and other teams before landing the head coach position for the Minnesota Lynx in 2009. From there, she coached the Lynx to four league championships. Currently, she has the highest winning percentage in the WNBA, including season and postseason wins. And she was named the WNBA Coach of the Year in both 2011 and 2016.

Today, Reeve is still coaching the Lynx. Today, she is still winning. But even through all her achievements and accomplishments, she still remembers her humble beginnings. She remembers her high school basketball coach and other (limited but so appreciated) female mentors who influenced her to become the person she is today.

Today, she also uses her voice to create real change and opportunities for women — opportunities that would not have happened to her, if not for her past female mentors.

To catch more female coaches who are advocating for women equality, watch Game On: Women Can Coach. Game On: Woman Can Coach is a Twin Cites Public Television (TPT) documentary that explores the supporting research, dispels false narratives and celebrates female coaching pioneers. Produced with the University of Minnesota’s Tucker Center.