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Women’s Basketball: Mon-Rose grad Cole happy at Abilene Christian



ABILENE, TX – Having a coach as a father shaped the professional journey that Monmouth-Roseville graduate Drew Cole finds himself on today.

Having another former Monmouth resident climb the coaching ladder helped Cole realize what might be possible on that journey.

Cole just completed his second season as an assistant women’s basketball coach at Abilene Christian University, an NCAA Division I school in Abilene, Texas. He did so in style, being recognized by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association as one of its Thirty Under 30. The WBCA created the program to recognize 30 up-and-coming women’s basketball coaches age 30 and under at all levels of the game.

“Drew is eager to learn and advance his own knowledge of the sport and our trade, while striving to shape and develop our players every day,” said ACU head coach Julie Goodenough. “His organizational skills are high-level as he serves also as our travel coordinator and academic liaison.”

“Learn and advance” is an apt description of Cole, who hopes to someday lead his own Division I program. He has wanted to be a coach since the realization sunk in that he would not be a professional athlete. Fortunately, he’d stored up plenty of coaching insights while watching his father, Jim Cole, lead high school basketball teams at Southern, West Central and Monmouth-Roseville.

“Dad and I talked about coaching all the time,” said Cole. “He would always say that coaching is a family business.”

Leading a high school program sounded fine, but the bar was raised for Cole during his time as a Titan when his basketball coach, Chuck Grant, invited Mike Miller to speak at a practice.

“At the time, Mike was a G League coach for the (San Antonio) Spurs,” said Cole of the Monmouth High School graduate, who is now head coach of the NBA’s New York Knicks. “He opened my eyes to the professional game and to being more than a high school coach. I thought, ‘Wow, you can actually do something coming from a place like Monmouth and do it at a high level.’”

While playing football and baseball at Aurora University, Cole got his foot in the coaching door.

“I got to know the women’s basketball coach (Brittany Carper), and I asked her how she picked her student assistants,” Cole said. “She asked if I wanted to be one, and I said, ‘Yeah, sure.’ I wound up getting to do quite a bit on her staff for two seasons.”

Carper helped Cole find a graduate assistant position at Austin Peay University in Clarksville, Tennenessee, where he earned a master’s degree in sports and wellness leadership while working with the Governors’ women’s basketball team.

“In my second year there, I was the director of basketball operations, which is a fancy title for saying you’re in charge of everything off the court like travel, academics and game videos,” said Cole.

While attending the 2018 Final Four, Cole learned of a staff opening at Abilene Christian. Three days later, he flew to Texas and was interviewed, and he was offered the position on the same day. A lot of winning has happened since, as the Wildcats have gone 47-15 the past two seasons.

“The first thing I would tell someone is that they have to go out and meet people,” said Cole, when asked for advice on how to follow in his footsteps. “This whole business is about networking and who you know. You’ve got to find your way in. Play in college if you can but, if not, go to the coaching staff and ask if they have any openings. You’ve got to be bold and meet as many people as you can.”

Cole is happy at Abilene Christian, saying he wouldn’t leave for just any job, but still, he has desire to keep climbing the coaching ladder.

“My goal is to be a Division I head coach,” he said. “There are only 351 schools, so it’s a pretty exclusive club, but that’s where I want to go from here.”