Jackie Stiles works with MSSU’s women’s team
JOPLIN, Mo. — Jackie Stiles frequently drew contact on drives toward the basket during her standout career at Missouri State when she scored an NCAA-record 3,393 points.
She drew some unwanted contact on Tuesday afternoon during a visit to Missouri Southern when her vehicle was sideswiped by another car.
“A drive to the basket is much easier,” Stiles said with a laugh. “Even though I’ve had 14 surgeries, it’s still easier than driving in a parking lot on a college campus.”
Stiles came to MSSU on Monday and Tuesday and worked with the Lions’ women’s basketball team. Monday’s emphasis was shooting, and Tuesday’s session included ballhandling drills.
“These girls are a great bunch,” Stiles said. “They worked really hard, very attentive, made my job easy. I don’t even consider this work. That’s one thing basketball has blessed me with is I haven’t had to get a real job.”
“She stressed work ethic, being competitive, putting in extra time and getting extra shots,” Lions forward Jasmine Lovejoy said. “Just working for whatever you want and keep going hard. The drills were excellent. She gave us a lot of moves that we can work with, more options we can look at when we’re running things.”
“The college level is the most fun for me to work with because I can show advanced stuff,” Stiles said. “From what I’ve heard, this team has been close to making the NCAA Tournament the last several years. I just hope that they will believe in themselves and work hard and they can make the NCAA Tournament. And who knows … once you get there, we made our Cinderella run to the Final Four, I just want them to know if I can do it, and our team can do it, your team can have everything and more if you believe and work hard.”
Stiles has started her own business, J.Stiles Total Training, in Springfield. She plans to conduct camps this summer for college athletes, and the sessions at Missouri Southern served as a test run.
“Jackie sent out e-mails to promote her college camp, to get feedback on whether or not that would be something of interest for college coaches to send their players and what areas we would like for her to cover,” Lions head coach Maryann Mitts said. “Through that correspondence, and obviously Coach (Ronda) Hubbard being from Missouri State, there was a connection there. They began e-mailing and thought this would be a wonderful opportunity. With her being so close and for her to come here and have our athletes out of season be able to learn from the best, it seemed like a no-brainer.”
Stiles worked with the Lions during their NCAA-allotted hours.
“Basically she just took our group work time that we normally had and used it for her own instruction,” Mitts said.
Stiles, now 31, has motivational speaking and personal training in her business as well as individual and group basketball instruction.
“Doing camps and clinics is what I really enjoy,” she said. “I’m doing them all over the country this spring and summer. I’ve done some videos, and this summer I’m doing my first-ever college camp for college athletes. When I was in college, there was nothing really for college players to do to get better. We’re going to try it out this summer. We’re going to do one in Springfield and Oregon and Philadelphia.”
After her record-setting college career, Stiles was the WNBA Rookie of the Year with the Portland Fire in 2001. But surgeries on her right shoulder, right wrist, right ankle and right Achilles’ tendon shortened her professional career.
“I thought I’d play 10 years, but basically I got one healthy year as a pro,” Stiles said. “My second year I played with injuries … on and off injured reserve (list). I went through 13 surgeries from 2002 (her last full season in the WNBA) through 2006, then I made one final attempt to come back and went to Australia in 2006.
“I made it through all those injuries, and then my left knee (was injured). I had a new injury, and that was like writing on the wall. My body is like an old car … one thing after another. But the attempt to come back gave me peace that I know it’s time to walk away. It’s hard when you’re forced out, but at least I knew I’d given it everything I had, and it just wasn’t meant to be.”
With all the current instruction, Stiles hasn’t ruled out a potential coaching career.
“I do miss the competitive part,” she said. “I’m such a crazy competitor. Even to this day, I cannot turn it off. Possibly if the right (coaching) situation happened, I would be interested in it, more so probably on the college level. But the only drawback with that is the travel and the recruiting. I’m not going to close the door on that.”