If you ever want to be entertained for a half an hour, go talk to UCF women's basketball assistant coach Khalilah Mitchell. She's the best at telling stories, and she has a boat load of them.
On Wednesday, UCFAthletics.com will have a detailed feature on Mitchell's growth with the Knights as she heads into her fourth year with the program and her first as an assistant coach. Here are some anecdotes that didn't make the cut for the story to tide you over until it is released.
Coach Mitchell is from New Orleans and was attending LSU when Hurricane Katrina hit. This is what she had to say about the experience:
"My mom and my family came to Baton Rouge maybe like a week before. People always ask, 'Why didn't people leave?' The thing is, we had hurricane scare after hurricane scare. You never think it's going to hit. In Baton Rouge, the population doubled over night. We ran out of gas, out of food. Our practice facility, we called it the Dungeon, became a morgue. The track became a helicopter landing pad to bring people here. It was really hectic. We had eight feet of water at my mom's house back in New Orleans.
Coach Mitchell is one of two players in NCAA history (men or women) to be a part of five NCAA Final Fours. That's a lot of rings. Where are they all?
"I have the majority of them. Some of them Hurricane Katrina took and I was unable to get those back. The majority of them, my parents have them because I'm not a clutter person and I hate stuff that I don't use at the time. I told them to keep all my stuff until I get a house, and then I'll get all my LSU stuff. Whenever I get a house, I'll have my own little LSU room."
As a junior and senior in high school, coach Mitchell worked on her quickness every day before school. She didn't own a jump rope, so she had to be resourceful:
"I would take an extension cord we had, unplug it -- it was such a process -- in the morning and wrap it around my hands because it was so long. It was like a phone jack. That's all we had. I'd jump rope every day for like 15-20 minutes before I had to catch my two busses to school."
The photo frame above is a present from the Knights after Mitchell accepted her coaching position with UCF. She has it in her office.
"The girls, I think, were happier for me than anyone because they know how hard I work and they know how bad I wanted. They would say throughout the year: Just don't leave until we graduate. And every class says it. When I was just out on the road recruiting, it was the cutest thing -- some of them would text me or call me, when are you coming back? Are you getting some players? That's when you know that you've done a good job."