Former Wichita State women’s basketball coach Jody Adams-Birch, who agreed to part ways with the program in January, has found her next coaching gig: as an assistant high school coach.
Adams-Birch will be the varsity assistant on Jodie Karsak’s staff on the Derby girls basketball team this upcoming season. Jessica Diamond, who played for Adams-Birch at WSU, will also join Derby’s staff as the junior varsity coach.
“I was so impressed watching (Karsak’s) players throughout the summer and how they work and how they go about things and their commitment and just their pure love and respect for basketball,” Adams-Birch said.
Karsak said she was thrilled to add a coach with Adams-Birch’s experience to her staff. The two were familiar with one another from Adams-Birch’s days as WSU coach recruiting Derby players. Adams-Birch also helped coach a basketball camp with Karsak in Derby earlier this summer.
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“I feel like I almost just won the lottery,” Karsak said. “Jody is one of the best teachers of the game I’ve ever been around. She helped us out earlier this summer with our camp and she was just phenomenal with the kids and they already have a great rapport with her. She made basketball exciting for them.”
Derby is coming off of a 20-5 season and an appearance in the Class 6A championship game. The Panthers return almost all of their production, including one of the top prospects in the country in the Class of 2019 in 6-foot-6 forward Kennedy Brown. Junior Tor'e Alford and sophomore Sydney Nilles are also attracting college interest.
After coaching women’s basketball at the Division I level for more than a decade, Adams-Birch said there will be some adjustment to being an assistant at the high school level. But she thinks her past experience will benefit her in the new role.
“I’m here to help Jodie any way I can,” Adams-Birch said. “It’s very different being a head coach, but I will think like one and hopefully that will help her.
“Basketball is basketball, no matter what level you coach and teach it at. If I can help the players have a great experience, then that will be more meaningful to me more than anything. I hope to be able to assist them to help them reach their dreams.”
Adams-Birch coached WSU for nine seasons and finished with a 161-115 record — the most wins by any coach in program history — but her tenure came to an end after complaints of mistreatment from players. Adams-Birch led the Shockers to three straight Missouri Valley championships and appearances in the NCAA tournament from 2012-15.