Madison and Melissa Guebert
Madison Guebert’s one-mile ride home with her coach is a place where the conversation can shift from basketball to school to relationships and then back to basketball.
When she walks through the door, though, it all changes. Coach Melissa Guebert becomes mom, talk of basketball dissipates and Madison quickly becomes a typical high school junior. That barrier is intentional, and one Eastview coach Melissa Guebert protects dearly.
“My other kids, they don’t care about our basketball,’’ she said. “When I walk in that door, it is a totally different role, and it needs to be that way for Madison, too.”
When the third-year coach first took over her daughter’s Eastview Athletic Association traveling team, hard losses and minute success left little room for relational controversy as the Gueberts began to navigate the coach/daughter relationship.
Just before Madison entered high school, Melissa was offered the Eastview head coaching position, taking over for longtime coach Paul Goetz, who stayed on as an assistant to ease the transition.
“He was great with me saying, ‘You know what, Paul, there are going to be times that I’m going to need you to talk to Madison,’ ” Melissa Guebert said.
Madison’s first significant varsity playing time came only after Goetz pushed his successor into playing her. In her own humility, Madison has done everything she can to keep the spotlight on others. Recently, it’s been a task made harder as the team’s leading scorer, averaging 22 points per game, and playmaker.
The Gueberts will try to maintain a low profile and the delicate balance between the hardwood and home. With success, and the outlook of a bright future, though, they’ll be cherishing the moments no matter what the relationship.
“There’s a lot of kids that aren’t as lucky to share this experience: that she’s on the court with me, sharing in every moment of the game,” Madison Guebert said.
Chase and Tylor Coley
For Chase Coley and her father Tylor, basketball is not only a common pursuit, it’s a necessity of life
Chase, the Star Tribune’s Metro Player of the Year, has been a four-year starter for her father at Minneapolis Washburn.
She averages nearly a triple-double per game (24.4 points, 18.4 rebounds, 9.4 assists), the result of a rangy, 6-3 frame and a steady diet of hoops.
“Basketball is an escape,” said Tylor, who played college basketball at Grace College in Indiana. “When I was a kid, when I wanted to get away from anything, I just went and played basketball. I’m a basketball fanatic.”
Chase hasn’t always been as keen on the sport as her father. Her mother, Kelli Jo, played college basketball, too, but never forced the sport on Chase.
When Kelli Jo died unexpectedly in 2010, basketball took on a new meaning. It was a way of coping for the Coleys, which includes Kendall, a budding fifth-grade star.
“When her mom was alive, she always said Chase didn’t have to play basketball,” Tylor said. “They bonded over volleyball. But basketball is the sport I know. I’ve tried to ingrain that in her and her little sister, but kids are all different.”
With a coach at the kitchen table, Chase’s learning curve has been steep. And as she improved, basketball became more important.
“I remember asking him about blocking shots,” Chase said. “He went out and worked with me on blocking shots and staying out of foul trouble.”
That work was not always fun. On many occasions, Tylor’s demands met with resistance.
“He’d tell me to do something hard like spin a basketball, catch it, then turn and shoot,” Chase said. “Then he’d say ‘Do it again 50 times.’ Sometimes I’d get so mad that at practice, I’d be like ‘I don’t want to see him.’ But then I’d just end up forgetting about it.”
The results of Tylor’s guidance have been exceptional. Chase earned a scholarship to play at Iowa next fall, a level she barely dreamed possible.
“I look back now and see it’s all been worth it,” she said. “It gets frustrating at times, but at the end of the day, I don’t think I’d want to play for anyone else.”
Mikayla Hayes and Dana Joubert-Hayes
A broken heart forced Dana Joubert-Hayes out of coaching high school basketball.
A former Gophers standout, Joubert-Hayes coached at the collegiate and local high school levels until her young daughter, Mikayla, asked one night, “Mom, are you ever going to make it home before we go to bed?”
This season, the duo is sharing their basketball dreams.
Hayes, a promising freshman forward who averaged 9.5 points and 7.7 rebounds per game, helped Park Center to its first state tournament berth. Joubert-Hayes, in her second year as the Pirates’ JV coach and varsity assistant, gets to share in every moment.
“When the buzzer went off at the section final game, my mom ran on the court with us and we were hugging,” Hayes said.
That moment signaled a step in the evolution of their basketball relationship. Joubert-Hayes admitted she “never wanted to be her head coach.” But that’s exactly what happened when she joined the Park Center coaching staff last season. Years of coaching experience were of little help to this new wrinkle.
“The dynamic is so different with a mother coaching her daughter than a father coaching his daughter,” Joubert-Hayes said. “It’s a delicate balance because I think it’s harder to separate being mom from being coach.”
“Last year was weird,” she said. “I would call her mom on the court. Now I know to call her Coach.”
Joubert-Hayes found delegating to be successful.
“If we have to get on her, I try to have another one of the coaches do that,” Joubert-Hayes said. “She’s coachable but she’s also a sensitive 14-year-old. But she has matured this season and she is more willing to take guidance from me.”
Hayes said she had learned to better appreciate her mother’s company.
“This is my first year of high school so I’m glad she is there,” Hayes said. “Having her with me is really cool.”
DAVID LA VAQUE