As Nancy Winstel readies herself and her team for the 2003-2004 season, she will be preparing for her 21st season at the helm of the women’s basketball team. In her 20 years on the job, Winstel has successfully built one of the premier programs in all of the country.
Winstel has finished each and every season with a winning record, compiling a career mark of 439 wins to 140 losses. She has led her teams to 14 NCAA tournament appearances, four national semifinal appearances and one national championship. Winstel has been able to do all of this in what she calls her dream job.
“When I got this job, it was sort of like I was living in a dream world,” said Winstel. “I’m lucky enough that I found a career and a job that I really enjoy.”
Winstel, who was a member of the first women’s basketball team at NKU, graduated in 1977 and began her coaching career in 1979 at Midway College. After three years at Midway, Winstel felt like she needed to come home.
She first found a home at NKU, not as a head basketball coach, but as the head softball coach. Winstel was also offered the job as assistant women’s basketball coach and assistant volleyball coach.
“I jumped at the opportunity,” said Winstel. “I happened to be very lucky with the situation I was given.”
Winstel spent just two seasons as the softball coach when the spot as head women’s basketball coach opened up. Winstel applied for the job and the rest is history.
“I have to attribute a lot of the success that I have had to my players and my assistant coaches,” said Winstel. “I’ve been lucky to have a lot of girls who want to work hard, the players really do make the coach.”
To stay on top, Winstel relies on her competitiveness and intensity.
“I think of myself as a pretty intense person,” Winstel said. “There may be days where I’m not really that motivated but, as a coach, you have to appear intense and motivated, no matter what.”
You would have to think that this intensity and motivation is what leads to the wins. The wins are what gets Winstel noticed. She has had other offers from bigger schools, but says that she is perfectly fine with staying pat and trying to keep the NKU tradition alive.
“It would take a whole lot to get me to leave this area,” said Winstel. “I have had a few offers to leave and coach elsewhere, but when push comes to shove, it always ends up that I don’t want to leave NKU.”
Winstel will continue to pace the sidelines this season and, as long as she is there, you can count on two things happening: The Norse will finish with a winning record, and Winstel will continue to stay motivated and intense.
“I love my job,” said Winstel. “I continue to learn something new from every player I coach. If my players learned as much from me as I learned from them, they are very fortunate.”
Winstel will begin her 21st coaching campaign in Florida late in November. She will be there coaching, teaching and learning. You can also count on her getting a few wins along the way.