Black records 100th win as Lady Indians head coach
After a very successful career playing for Union City during her high school years, she now has 14 years under her belt as a coach. Coach Black was an assistant coach with the Jay County and Winchester programs before returning to her alma mater to take over as the Lady Indians head coach in 2011.
Since being head coach, the Lady Indians have won the Union City Holiday Tournament twice, conference champions for three seasons and back-to-back sectional champs. For the first time in school history, Coach Black and her team brought home a semi-state title and were the IHSAA Class A state runner-up in the 2016-17 season.
“The state finals was a dream of mine when I played and continued to be a dream as I stepped into the realms of coaching. That experience and the trip with that group was beyond anything I could have ever imagined,” Coach Black told The Early Bird.
“Everything along the ride of the state finals trip could never be replaced and it is something that so few get to experience,” she added. “I am so thankful I was able to share it with people I love and care for and be a small part of something so tremendous and creating memories and experiences for a group of young ladies that will last a lifetime.”
Her passion for the game takes coaching way beyond being just a job for Sarah…it is part of her life. Most everyone that comes into contact with Coach Black, both on and off the court, are inspired for all the dedication and love for not only the game, but her players, coaches, the community and most of all her family.
“I am extremely proud of where Sarah has brought our girls basketball program,” said UC principal and Sarah’s husband Aaron Black. “When she played, the program was prominent and was always considered a threat…now as a coach, she has brought that back to Union City.”
“I truly enjoy the game and how it is played. Basketball is a team sport and cannot be achieved with just one individual, it unknowingly forces each player to become a small part of something bigger, every person on the floor and the bench matters and each player has a role that they must fill in order for the whole to succeed,” said Sarah.
For all the success she has had thus far, Coach Black has a long list of people she is thankful for, including her high school coach Kirk Comer, her husband and parents, all of her hardworking assistant coaches and players…just to name a few. Most importantly, Sarah knows that without God in her life, none of this would have ever been possible.
“As I look back on my life and the events within it, both good, bad and tragic and I can see how each and every one of them played a very important part in making me who I am and getting me to my current state,” she explained. “There were many times I did not understand the events going on or the emotions I was feeling but looking back now it was just part of the grander scheme. He has a plan for me and I must trust that plan has a purpose and live it out.”
Her faith is shared by many of her players that started a prayer circle in 2016, with the opposing team at center court, at the conclusion of every game…win or lose. This Godly gesture of sportsmanship has since been adopted by many other programs. Former player Kora Kerns was even awarded the Gary Horner Sportsmanship Award for initiating the prayer circle, along with her sister Ellie.
It goes without saying that Coach Black’s success goes far beyond winning basketball games…and the positive impact on her players has helped them be successful in life as well.
“Her success is a product of not only her passion for the game of basketball, but from how much she truly cares about the lives she is changing through coaching,” noted Aaron Black.
Most former players comeback to watch games and to see Coach Black. Raelynn Mills and Kelsey Zimmers returned this season to help coach.
“I don’t think she realizes the impact she’s made on so many kids. Instead of teaching her players to play basketball (or win a double overtime semi-state championship) she also teaches them how to be respectful, not to give up, to have patience and rely on others because you can’t fully rely on yourself all the time,” said Zimmers. “Lucky for me, I’ve gotten to experience this first-hand and now from a coach’s perspective as well. She’s truly one of a kind…a great coach!”
Coach Black will look for win number 101 tonight as the Lady Indians travel to Monroe Central. Visit the Union City Athletic Department website for a complete schedule of girls varsity basketball games at http://sports.resc.k12.in.us/