Rewarding. Challenging. Unforgettable.
That’s how four local girls basketball coaches describe what it’s like having their daughters on their respective rosters.
For Joplin’s Luke Floyd, Webb City’s Lance Robbins, Carl Junction’s Brad Shorter and McAuley Catholic’s Mike Howard, high school basketball is a family affair this winter.
Floyd, Robbins, Shorter and Howard are all coaching daughters on the hardwood.
Queried about coaching a daughter or daughters, all four coaches shared similar sentiments.
Regardless of wins and losses, the fathers and daughters are making memories that they’ll likely cherish for the rest of their lives, long after a playing career or coaching stint has concluded.
All the quality time in practice, on the bus rides and during games helps strengthen the father-daughter bond, the local coaches noted.
Some coaches admit they’re a little harder on their own kids when it comes to mistakes on the court, while all coaches who have a child on their roster must deal with perceived favoritism.
Witnessing their own child have success on the court is always rewarding, while seeing their offspring suffer through injuries can be difficult.
Of course, children of coaches also have to deal with raised expectations or pressure to perform at a high level.
LUKE FLOYD, JOPLIN
Joplin coach Luke Floyd has two daughters in his program.
Emma Floyd is a junior who starts at a forward spot for the Eagles, while Scarlett Floyd is a freshman on the JV roster.
“It’s fun and I love the time we get together,” Floyd said. “They probably don’t love it as much as I do because I’m probably a little harder on them. But, at the end of the day, my love for them doesn’t change based on wins and losses.”
Floyd noted balancing time as father and basketball coach is crucial to a healthy relationship.
“My wife (Chris) does a good job of keeping me in check and making sure I balance being dad and coach,” Floyd said.
Floyd commented on the challenges of coaching a daughter, including the perceived favoritism.
“People who complain about favoritism don’t see everything those kids go through,” Floyd said. “When someone needs lit up at practice, it’s probably my kid that is going to catch the brunt of it. It’s an interesting dynamic.”
Floyd, who previously coached Emma at Rolla, will have one more season together with his oldest daughter next winter.
“Emma will be a senior next year and then she’ll be out of the house,” Floyd said. “So I want to enjoy every second we have together.”
LANCE ROBBINS, WEBB CITY
Like Floyd, Webb City coach Lance Robbins has two daughters in his program.
Kenzie Robbins is a junior forward, while Mia is a freshman guard.
Robbins noted he and his daughters have shared many memorable moments together through the sport of basketball.
“It’s been fun,” Robbins said. “Coaching my daughters is something I’ve looked forward to for a long time. I know there are several of us in the area who have daughters playing. And some of us played together growing up and some of us competed against each other growing up. So it’s been fun watching all the girls in the area develop into the high school players that they are.”
Robbins tries not to be harder on his daughters in practices or games.
“There are definitely challenges with coaching your own kid, but I try to treat them like everybody else,” Robbins said. “You try to treat them fairly like everybody else. I just try to coach my daughters like I’d coach anybody else.”
Mia Robbins is currently in Webb City’s varsity starting lineup, while Kenzie is out for the rest of the year with a knee injury.
Coach Robbins has had to look on as his oldest child has suffered multiple knee injuries throughout her prep career.
Robbins said he looks forward to having both daughters on his roster again next year.
“Hopefully the surgery and rehab will go well for Kenzie and she’ll get to have a senior year,” said Robbins, a former Joplin Eagle and Missouri Southern Lion. “That’s something we’re looking forward to.”
BRAD SHORTER, CARL JUNCTION
Carl Junction coach Brad Shorter is in his second year of coaching his daughter Hali at the varsity level.
A sophomore guard, Hali is currently in Carl Junction’s starting lineup.
Coach Shorter noted it’s been very rewarding coaching his daughter.
“I enjoy every minute of it,” Shorter said. “That’s at least two hours a day I get to spend time with my daughter, so I cherish it. It’s just been wonderful. She’s a sweet kid. She’s always going to have a special place in my heart.”
Hali was the team’s “water girl” for several years before she entered high school, giving father and daughter more time together before her prep career even began.
Hali also gained varsity experience last year as a freshman on Carl Junction’s undefeated squad.
Shorter, who has earned more than 400 career coaching victories, noted the issue of playing time can come up from time to time with parents or fans.
“A lot of our fans know what I expect out of our kids,” Shorter said. “I think Hali has worked hard and has justified her playing time. She plays really hard and she’s very unselfish. You can’t have enough of those kinds of kids. And she’s stepped up and hit some big shots for us.”
Shorter added he looks forward to coaching Hali for the remainder of her varsity career.
Shorter’s son Maddox is four years younger than Hali. Will Brad eventually coach his son at the high school level? Only time will tell.
MIKE HOWARD, MCAULEY CATHOLIC
McAuley coach Mike Howard’s step-daughter Kloee Williamson is a freshman guard for the Warriors.
“It’s been wonderful coaching my daughter,” Howard said. “We decided to bring her here to McAuley to give her a good, Christian education. That’s first and foremost. And now I get to coach her, teach her and watch her grow. I wouldn’t have been able to watch her play if she wasn’t here and I know I would have regretted that later.”
Like the other coaches, Howard noted there are challenges that come with coaching a child.
“You always worry about what the other parents are thinking about playing time,” Howard added. “As a coach, you always want to put the best players on the floor. If your daughter is one of those players, then she’ll be on the court. If she’s not of those players, then she’s not on the court.”
“When I’m coaching in practice, I don’t see Kloee as my daughter, I see her as one of my players. And Kloee knows I may be harder on her than anyone else. That was hard early on, but she’s learned. She knows I push her because I want to see her succeed.”
Floyd, Robbins, Shorter and Howard will all have the opportunity to coach their daughters again next year, as none of the girls are seniors.
Howard summed up how all four of the coaches feel about that scenario.
“It’s just exciting to think about that,” Howard said.
When coach and player’s time ends on the court, the father-daughter relationship will continue, with or without basketball.
One thing is certain, they’ll always have the memories of their time together on the hardwood.
All four coaches agreed. Coaching a child is rewarding, sometimes challenging, but certainly unforgettable.