Interview with Alison Fett, 05/05/2017

UW Oshkosh Campus Stories
Zaine Tischendorf, Interviewer | uwocs_Alison_Fett_05042017_uc.mp3
Campus Stories Oral History Project (UWO Audio Series 51) |


´╗┐ZAINE TISCHENDORF: So it is 9:49 in the morning May 5th we're at the alumni Welcome Center this is for the campus so studies oral history project my name is Dan Tischendorf your name is

ALLISON FETT: Allison Fett

ZT: All right we're just going to get started here all right so what was it like growing up like what hometown or where are you from really

AF: yes from Illinois originally, Waukegan area so northern part of Chicago and growing up very simple life you know played outside till the street lights came on was raised kinda by my dad and my brother for the most part so lots of sports and went to Catholic grade school

ZT: Okay what was like growing up in a community but you said that you said like smaller and all that how like and then compared to like you know you've lived in a big city before to like I'm not big but you know Oshkosh what's it what's the difference of like growing up in like a smaller community when you're younger and how does that transition though now


AF: You know well and I think about it compared to what I have what my children are raised in now Zaine is so different in that grew even younger my dad had lots of high trust around the community and so we could be gone all day and again we had to come in when the street lights came on so really it was one of those things where we were really autonomous at a very young age and we are allowed to do a lot of neat things I think my dad put me on a plane at to go to Tennessee by myself and then three years after 13,14,15 and 16 actually four years and to Pat Summit's camp in Tennessee all on my own so it was like hey you know brought me to Chicago's Airport O'Hare hop on a plane fly down to Tennessee where I laughs now I don't think I've ever put my Vinny on a plane at 13 I just think I'd be very nervous so a lot of things have changed since then but I love my raising I love my upbringing lots of sports 2:00lots of softball volleyball basketball and just a neat environment and comparing that to like in Milwaukee or an Oshkosh, Oshkosh is probably similar to how I was raised yeah just a bit larger you bet and but really that small town community feel although we have seventy thousand some people here maybe even more now you still feel it's homey atmosphere and with having the university right here in Oshkosh and believing here it's pretty spectacular

ZT: Yeah I've noticed that too coming from like my hometown like it kind of just like the same thing but bigger so did you grow up with any like siblings at all

AF: Yep, my brother Casey he turns 40 this year so he he's four years older than I and we were the best of friends we just again play all kinds of sport and I distinctly remember him beating up on me quite a bit to try to get me to be 3:00tougher stronger mentally and physically but you know he and his buddies would come over and I'd be the batter and he'd catch and they pitch at me and sometimes get bean in my my parents or I should say my dad's communication back to me was well if you don't like it then go do something else you know you're you know tough you know like I'm not going to tell them to stop throwing the ball hard so I kind of grew up at a young age to just kind of figure it out

ZT: Yeah kind of grew up under like all the boys

AF: Very tomboyish you got it yes

ZT: I mean I kind of can relate to well not me myself but like I grew up with a sister so well no we did like all the same things too because we were pretty close in age

AF: Then as you said it was like small town did you like go through like schooling and all the same town I know like people and sometimes you know that you have to switch schools or did you like grow up in like the same system

AF: No actually I switched so St Anastasia was where I went to kindergarten in through fifth grade and then 6th or actually rather than 6th , 7th and 8th grade 4:00we actually crossed the border to Wisconsin to Kenosha and I want to St Joseph Academy in Kenosha for 7th and 8th grade and then all through high school so you know halfway through meeting new friends in middle school I remember it being a challenge but not detrimental I think it just helped me adapt and become more agile at a younger age you know having whole new set of friends to do things with and interact with and play sports with so

ZT: Right so when you went to school in Kenosha did you still live in Illinois AF: I did

ZT: So you commuted

AF: Yeah

ZT: So you had to cross the border every day

AF: Across the border every single day from Illinois to Wisconsin and so I grew very fond of we're always Cubbies fans so that was a big deal and then always were Packer fans so it just felt right it just felt I had one foot in each state and so yeah so that's what I am a Cubby Packer fan


ZT: Yeah you know that would have been frowned upon in my high school

AF: Can you remind me of where you went again

ZT: Rhinelander

AF: Oh yes

ZT: I know I kind of get a lot of stuff too for not being packer fan and for living in Wisconsin

AF: Yeah so what are you a fan of

ZT: I'm and Oakland Raiders fan

AF: Oh fabulous and more different I love it

ZT: For sure um so growing up in like well not all growing up the like going to high school like what kind of classes were like you most involved in or like what kind of things did you do extracurricular in high school

AF: Yeah in high school yeah you bet mainly in high school Zaine I did a lot of I was a three-sport athlete and played varsity in two out of the three since I was a freshman so I played varsity softball all four years and then varsity basketball all four years and went to state in both did not win a state championship but I went to state in both when it was WISAA so versus WIAA now 6:00and I loved every aspect of it mainly mainly sports was what I was involved in and I always kind of joke and say if it weren't for sports I don't think I would have went on to college and then my friends are even shocked that I went on to get my masters so and then they're even more shocked when they find out I was an elementary principal just because I was one that liked school but I was never in love with it and I kind of did it just so that I could be involved in some of the extracurricular things

ZT: Yeah I definitely did the same thing being I was three-sport athlete as well didn't go to state for anything

AF: But you had fun good for you and I think the well-roundedness is really important know getting my kids involved in things and it doesn't have to be at a young age but just getting them involved as they continue to grow in more than one thing it allows them to understand what it's like to serve on a team where 7:00maybe you're not the star you know you're a role player and a contributor which I think is just as important in the game of life as it is in them in the sports arena

ZT: That definitely helps transition to college too so youre not someone you know just sits in the dorms and does your homework and goes to class goes to bed definitely helps you be more involved so in high school like especially being around like the Illinois you know Kenosha area what kind of made you draw towards Oshkosh

AF: Well it's really interesting so right away Zaine I didn't come here right out of high school I received a scholarship to play at Bemidji State University in Northern Minnesota which is quite a ways up there and it just it was about ten hours away from home and it got to be to a point where I kind of woke up one morning as a redshirt going to be I was a redshirt sophomore at the time and I think I just looked in the mirror and thought my family doesn't get to watch me 8:00play and how nice would it be I was a little bit closer so that going into my junior year I hit a couple schools on the way after my dad picked me up on the way back towards Kenosha Illinois area and we stopped at Stevens Point and while I don't have anything bad to say about Point in fact I love the coach there Shirley Anger very much there was something when I met coach Pam Ruder that drew me to Oshkosh and so I can honestly say she was the reason I chose UWO in the first place she's very classy woman that she not only cared about her team as a cohesive unit and what they could do on the basketball floor but just equally important and probably little bit more she cared about them as people and that was a deciding factor for me to say UWO

ZT: Then I kind of just feel like it isn't always relevant to this because this 9:00is about UWO but what were your first two years at the other University like because I mean I'm familiar with that school someone from my high school actually uh once played basketball there, no it was um he I think he just transferred or just stopped playing on the team it's Shane White yeah he's from my hometown and he went to play basketball there oh yeah what was what was school like there and like especially being like ten hours away what was that like

AF: Yeah it was a transition and I'm such a daddy's girl that it was one of those things where I think my family was shocked that I had made that choice and committed to it for several years I was actually there for three redshirted as a freshman in the first year so I loved it I loved the campus it was very cold though so for the month I was up there and it was very chilly and we had underground tunnels and I remember us just wearing shorts and a sweatshirt to school because it was so darn cold we took the underground tunnels everywhere but um the experience being away having to make choices on my own having to take 10:00care of things on my own really helped build a lot of strength and character and myself I think while I referred and relied on my family for so long that was really that point in my life where it's like hey you got to kind of grow up here and this is your opportunity to start to take care of some things on your own

ZT: Yeah so you played basketball there and what I know your major here was radio-tv-film but what was your initial like what did you go to school there for

AF: Yeah so it equates to radio TV film here but what it was call that there was just communications degree and so similar radio TV film concepts we just call it something different at UWO than what we called it at Bemidji so when my transfer my credits transferred they all kind of filtered right into that direction so it made it really easy for me to say yes to the Radio TV Film department here at UWO and yeah a lot I have my own radio show up there well so FM90 I'll never 11:00forget and I had lot of great opportunities where I sat and lots of recordings on doing different thoughts and things you know thought-provoking questions that I'd ask the audience to just sit in and ponder but then also be able to play music and time things out and it was pretty pretty cool loved it

ZT: Surprised that you didn't have like a sports show with how much sports you had like growing up and like did in college

AF: Yeah I mean my goal on early on Zaine was to be on ESPN and that was absolutely my goal so that was certainly something that I was a dream job for me and as time goes on you begin to realize in a certain path that you take that are a little bit different than them that ESPN, that's a big time dream so

ZT: That would have been a heck of a job

AF: Yes absolutely

ZT: I think everyone always dreamed about that

AF: Right

ZT: especially like us coming from like radio TV film and like journalism stuff 12:00like that it definitely would be something like a dream come true for people who are especially interested in sports um so you were there for three years right and then was there anything besides you said the coach at Oshkosh that like drew you here with it like obviously it was closer but like did you like to tour here or like what was that like like the transition from going to another college

AF: Yeah so you talk about word of mouth in my team member at Bemidji actually transferred to UW Oshkosh a year before me and her name was Libby Siebert and Libby said Al I think you'd love it here the campus is cool the coaches are fabulous the team is dedicated and we're good were strong you know there's there's a lot of wins you know and

when you're young if you want to win you know you're playing the game you understand that that's the ultimate goal and and so she said it's established and but the community is awesome to the support that we get we have a lot of 13:00lifers that come to all the games and they're just like an extended family and she said I think you really love its when I came down in the first person met with coach Ruder and coach Schoonover and then they took me on a campus tour and at that time we didn't have nearly the buildings we have now that it's just there something about the older brick buildings that just made it seem just homey and comforting and stable and and the word that keeps coming to mind Zaine was tradition but there's just tradition here and I liked it and so not only did it feel right in the basketball realm but just as equally important it felt right from the academic realm as well

ZT: Right and then coming over you were already three years into school I'm assuming you didn't live on campus I'm assuming you lived off campus right, so you didn't get to experience dorm life here

AF: I didn't and I kind of wish I did that's one of those things that I think a lot of great relationships can come from that that camaraderie you know right down 14:00the hallway of knocking on someone's door and you know hanging out so I did not have that experience I lived off campus on Lincoln Street actually and so not too far and it was a women's basketball house so I hopped in with a couple other basketball team members we had a great time but yeah I definitely didn't experience the dorm life like most people do and I kind of wish I would have

ZT: Thats kind of interesting when you don't know anyone here but you can walk down the hall and everyone's got their door open and walk in and like that's not something you have you know when you're growing up you its not like all your friends are just on the same street

AF: Exactly that's pretty cool and a pretty cool experience

ZT: And mostly just still like connect with them years AF:ter that first dorm hall really like resonates with you a lot

AF: Doesn't it and can speak for on behalf of Bemidji because same similar thing and that feeling of having the openness and everybody's there to support one another and we're all especially typically and you come in as freshmen right and 15:00you're all you know freshmen usually on that floor so you can it can empathize sympathize you can high-five you understand what each other is going through and pretty spectacular relationship

ZT: Alright moving on so you were a radio TV film major when you got here what were the classes like you were also communications at Bemidji what were the classes like in comparison or like what were the classes like here like what was your experience in classes at UWO

AF: Yeah I had fabulous instructors and if you had me you know if you said I'll pick a couple I couldn't even pick them but um the area in the AC building that we would go to I just remember a lot of my professors being so open about this career in trying to help us drill down to what is it that we want to do with it and what what it can provide us as far as graduates and what does that look like 16:00in our next phase of life I remember the classes in doing different speeches and different things as far as cutting and editing videos and

making sure they flowed nicely and that again you know using your voice in a way to deliver a message that people actually really want to hear and listen to and you're engaging and all those things so I remember a lot of principals I don't remember a lot of tactics behind it but remember a lot of like strategic principles that certainly have helped me you know throughout my entire life since since I left UWO

ZT: Yeah definitely seems like one of the more at least from what you just said there that like they try to help you get what you want to like know what you want to do now I feel like not many other programs really you know tell you truth about your major

AF: Right that's how difficult it is and you know really the magnitude of it in hours that are put in in let's be honest we're different creatures radio TV film 17:00people are different creatures we are not we are not like anybody else on the planet we have a different mindset of what we think is cool and fun and we high-five at the oddest of things and it's just awesome but I do remember I had an internship with NBC 26 in Green Bay and ran the teleprompter for the talent and I did some behind the scenes stuff the lighting and I learned so much from the camera angles to the zooming in and what's important and what the good shot looked like and now even to this day you know my friends it'll drive them crazy because we'll be watching I'm like that's too tight you know that's too tight of a shot and it should be you know here at the collar or whatever you know and so I'll notice the most odd edits that are really inappropriate in movies where you know somebody's hair is in front of them and then all sudden it's behind them and it's the same scenes shot or up or you know the outfit has changed just 18:00slightly and I can notice those oddities that the human eye normal I could not catch

ZT: Yeah I think I noticed those too and I'm pretty sure my girlfriend hates me for it I'm just stopping the movie

AF: Right check this out you rewind it I know so as I say is we're just different beings but um it's awesome

ZT: Yeah I remember um one of the first times that like my girlfriend came over to my house and she saw like my microphone here and she's like what the heck is that like it's a microphone she's like what is over its, it's a pop filter like, what is that like microphone with a pop filter she's like you are so nerdy

AF: Oh I love it I know that's awesome that that gets us that kind of stuff gets us excited

ZT: Oh the things you see the technology Amazon deals of the day, those get me all right and I'm staying in I guess your undergrad before moving on past that what was it like being you know I mean you were in sports in high 19:00school as was I and I mean you moved on to college to play college sports what was what was playing basketball like a university and I mean obviously it seems like it was a big part of your life when you were here so what was like as much as you want to talk about it

AF: Okay fabulous yeah I mean you know coming into it on the program had such tremendous structure and tradition and when I'll talk about first is I've never felt like such an you know I took a lot of coaching classes at Bemidji trying to decide if I wanted to go into that realm of coaching I knew I'd always wanted to go into some sort of but it's some sort of basketball realm well again whether it was talking about it as a sports broadcaster or

coaching it in college I thought for sure I always wanted to be a d1 college coach that was my aside from ESPN when I realized how difficult that was that was my next step and so when I recognized at UW Oshkosh more so than I have 20:00experienced at any other team I've played on and I've been playing since I was literally eight years old is that there was such an unspoken tradition of Titans in the connection the coaches from Cathy Bennet to coach Ruder to Schoonover to Kelli Marquis and all these wonderful people what they really made sure is that they they recruited the right person they didn't think about I mean winning was important of course right like that's why we play the game especially at the collegiate level is I mean it's important to win game but she knew the nucleus of the team was the foundation to being able to put ourselves in a position to win basketball games year after year night after night right decade after decade and so when you get together with these past alums that played I mean I could be sitting next to somebody that played ten years before me and I could be sitting next to somebody that played years after me and we have this amazing unspoken tradition of what it's like to go through that type of grind day-in and 21:00day-out seven eight months out of a year and you know the basketball seasons long it's over to holidays you know your Thanksgiving the Christmas area you know it's over those breaks where most people are enjoying a break and you know we're here you know were you're practicing we're here and we're here usually doing an interim class because we have to be here anyways and so campus is very quiet during that time so the dedication is tremendous but it's easy when you're surrounded by people that want to give everything they have to the sport to this University to make it represent itself in a really positive light so my experiences were awesome Iman practice was phenomenal two and half hours of practice every day along with an hour of lifting or strength training change training of some sort so literally three and a half hours you know closer to 22:00four every single day that you commit to on top of your school schedule and to be honest with you I was more organized when I played then I wasn't when I was out of season because I had to be very structured in meticulous and efficient where when we were out of season and we just kind of would lift and run on our own and play pickup on her own I was not nearly as efficient with my schoolwork and that sort of thing so but yeah it's tradition it's pride and it's representing your school and in that higher level capacity as it pertains to college sports

ZT: Yeah that's definitely why I didn't play a college sports AF: It's a lot

ZT: I don't think I could have put that much time in a day I have enough trouble when I played soccer in high school going to practice for an hour and half past school because I when you go home and take a nap

AF: Yeah right isn't that the truth

ZT: That's why I picked up golf

AF: Yeah that a boy the golf is a label I swear that's a good one too

ZT: So you said earlier that one of the reasons that you thought about moving closer was so that your family could see you play when you were here did they 23:00like get to see you play often

AF: Yeah yeah they did my family could come up especially my mom and my dad and my bonus mom and my grandmother got to see me play quite a few times as well as my aunt my siblings were all off doing their own thing at that time but really my core nucleus of my family were at most every home game so they could support and it's about a two hour drive for them versus a 10 hour drive

ZT: So yeah that definitely adds like at least when I played soccer and you know when you're it's an away game you know you don't know anyone there or like when it's a home game and you see like your family and your friends and the crowd it almost makes like it that much better, why there's home field advantage right

AF: Absolutely it is there's something especially when you're you're performing whether it's an art right whether you're performing a musical instrument or theatrical performance or really you know anything it doesn't just have to be 24:00sports there's something when you have that support from your family and your friends that make it that much sweeter for the victories and that much more easier to swallow the losses so yeah it's a good feeling to have them in the stand

ZT: Yeah and definitely I'm going back to what you said about being structured when you had that I can relate to like you know I dreaded my hour and a half of practice on high school it almost helps you I feel like that almost helps you with school because you have to balance your time because me right now I'm really free I don't have a job or anything like but I always find it hard to like balance my free time so god you must have been busy like from sunrise to the time you went to bed like how was it like especially during the season yeah you had to have like a full day and you know you almost really had what to be no free time

AF: Right no free time um and very rare free time I think it's like it you know if you could just picture this the 6 am start sometimes it could be practice or could be lifting or whatever to 7 or 7:30 and then you shower up get ready for 25:00your class usually at 9 or 10 or 11 or whenever it started right and then you have that and then you have that till maybe three or four and then usually we'd have practice either a five to seven or three to five depending on or even one to three depending on our schedules right could say hey this is the time you need to commit to and that's usually a two to two and a half-hour practice and so you know literally your day could be from 6 am start time where literally you're up at getting 5 or 5:30 breakfast trying to get over to the gym or Albee we have we lifted in Albee at the time we didn't have this beautiful Rec Center that we have now which is fantastic for our athletes and just our students in general I just so impressed in fact our classes were really responsible for spearheading that to get built so we knew we would never see it but we knew for those that came after us it would be a great thing for them so yeah 6 am until usually 6 pm constant and then by the time you got home you maybe want to put up 26:00your feet watch a show and then get after some work you know homework from maybe 8 to 10 and you know sleep and do it all over the next day so pretty jam-packed but you know that's the commitment you make and you make it to you know and you make it at this level because you love it you don't make it because you're getting paid you make it at this level because you love it and you're passionate about it and there's something about Division

three sports that is unlike any other division you could possibly you know consider or any other type of venue because it is it is about the passion the commitment and the dedication versus ah you know I'm getting paid to be here you know they're paying for my education or my books or my schooling or my dorm you know I got a I got to stick this out it really is more of an internal drive versus an external influence

ZT: Yeah I definitely could not have done that kind of day if I didn't have to well granted this interview is it's really early in the morning for me if didn't 27:00have this I would have had I would have been done with my day after my exam today so I would have gone like 11:30 to noon and I would have been done right half hour day I would have done nothing with my free time because when you have that much free time you're just like oh I'll do it later then you know 10 pm hits and it's like oh I didn't do it alright and you were here for two years like I know when you talked about how it was on the basketball team were you guys like successful like did you guys play well did you guys I don't know how D3 is compared to D1 but you guys have like what what did you guys like make it to playoffs and stuff and like what was that like and how successful were you

AF: Oh yeah you know what's interesting Zaine is we were always ranked in the nation I was very good and I you know that's it you remember the memories I think more so than like the days and the specific details and so we were Conference champs my senior year and what happened was we had to play in the 28:00conference tournament to get to the NCAA tournament again so you had to without a doubt win the conference tournament because the WIAC our conference is one of the most well known Division three conferences in the entire US so for us to get in that large bid which would mean you don't meet you don't win your conference tournament but you're so good you know they still give you that large bit to move on we unfortunately didn't get that our junior or our senior year and we lost in the conference to Stevens Point of all people but I think that it taught us a lot about life and then no matter how good you are there are certain things that happen that are out of your control and it's it's really how do you deal with those things that are going to make the bigger difference as to how you you know continue to you know fumble through life or you drive through life and you navigate through it you you can definitely control certain things and there's 29:00certain things you cannot control and one of them was that at-large bid and I'll never forget coach Ruder sent us all an email and said you know what guys the top X amount of teams didn't get you know the top X amount of teams in the nation and not get into the NCAA tournament this year and to put into perspective Zaine we played a team early in the year and we beat them like a hundred to forty four and I don't know why I remember that percent you know that's that point percentage but I do because I remember thinking you know there were 66 or you know 56 points we had beaten a team by that got into the tournament because they had a different conference and they won out in their conference so while I looked at it I thought that just seems unfair but life isn't fair right so it and fair is not always equal so the point of that whole 30:00thing is we had to learn that past the age of 20 you know 21,22 years old and so it just taught us to be resilient as well and you know dealing with you know what we thought was unfair at a very young age and how are you going to handle it

ZT: Right we're going to move on to like the years following and I said you attended as an undergrad from 2002-04 and then you came back from 200 -07 what did you do in that year in between

AF: Yeah I worked and it was actually closer to a year and a half I don't know when I came back specifically Zaine but I worked with the Milwaukee Bucks and I loved it it was a great experience it started off as summer summer internship where it was only supposed to be a three-month internship but I had sold so well for them that they moved me to a Senior Account and so I moved into that position for an entire year and I enjoyed it tremendously but I felt this pull of wow I really believe that there's something else I need to be doing and it 31:00felt like here I love basketball right I'm involved in it daily I get to talk about it all the time I'm selling on behalf of the Bucks but there's a piece of me that's missing and that was the coaching aspect and so then therefore came the opportunity coach Schoonover called me up and said hey give me your resume and said what are you up to you know what are you up to you're scaring me here lady and she said give your resume I got something that I'm working on and so Al Ackerman our athletic director at the time and so she had submitted my resume and some other things to him to consider me for this NCAA women and minority internship through UW Oshkosh

ZT: What was um so what was the internship um staying on that year-and-a-half yeah well what did you do for the Bucks for that year and a half

AF: yeah I was

ZT: First the internship and then like pass by like what was that mean you 32:00briefly talked like what was that experience like especially growing up like in the basketball and getting to do that

AF: It was awesome I mean I'm high fived Michael Redd often I Allen Iverson was in the you know hallway with me several times you know all these big names Andrew Bogut Zaza Pachulia did those guys were all there when I was there and you know you didn't feel like they were famous because they were pretty down-to-earth and they were good gentlemen and so you worked alongside mostly the team members it was a male-driven organization so lots of men and and I was kind of the sole female as a salesperson and so it worked out well and I enjoyed every moment of it I can't say enough about that organization and who helps to run it and I think the vice-president still at this time is John Steinmiller and I will tell you heist one of the best servant leaders I've ever come across and 33:00so a lot of great people worked for the box and again you know my position was every home game 48 of them you know all of them I was at servicing some capacity either meeting my clients and my customers and saying hi dropping off a bobble head to a little boy that you know didn't get one the week before or just making sure that their experiences were pretty amazing and so I lived at the Bradley Center for you know that whole entire year and half I think I would work 60 to 70 hour weeks and didn't mind it but like I said something was pulling me to do something a little different my heart was pulling me to do something different

ZT: They seem to be doing pretty good now it's looks like they're getting that new stadium soon

AF: Yeah it'll be right here in Oshkosh so we're so excited at that opportunity for the D-League to come here yeah that's awesome


ZT: That's going to be really nice for like us as like college kids like oh you want to go to a game like its in town

AF: Yeah absolutely I think it's it's fantastic not only for the University and that our students here but our entire community and the surrounding communities like I was pretty cool I agree

ZT: Yeah and then talking about how you said you you know you some was pulling you you said like coaching um so you came back here in 2005 and you said you were a coach on the basketball team so can you talk about just like how you got there like what that experience was like know you said that on the one person asked for your resume and then like how'd that go and also along with that and that woman's and minority internship at UWO

AF: Super cool experience Zaine but I will tell you so from one day I get a call from my assistant coach when I was an undergrad here and her name is Chris Schoonover and she's just a gal really tiny little Italian looking woman that 35:00just gets a lot of stuff done and she's very driven and just a huge mentor of mine along with Pam Ruder but I remember you know her saying to me you need to be in coaching and so you need to give me your resume and I'm like ah well you know I like this gig it's playing well I'm enjoying it I love the people I work with it's the Bucks it's the NBA there's a lot of great perks and knew though in my heart of hearts something was pulling me differently I'd worked maybe 9 to 5 at the Bucks and then 5 to 9 I'd just volunteer my time at a local high school in Milwaukee called Franklin high school and I'd help them coach and I loved it and I felt this pull to get back into it and so when she called said give me your resume said all right so gave her my resume and literally I felt like a month later if not two weeks later I got a call from Al Ackerman that said we'd like you to consider this women and minority internship and it's through the 36:00NCAA you get amazing opportunities to travel the world you get a stipend for personal development professional development as well as you can be a graduate assistant on the women's basketball team and you know leaving a secure job with great health benefits and leaving for literally $18000 a year at that time was scary but for some reason the leap did not seem too scary because I felt like that's where you know I was being pulled and that's where I needed to serve next and so packed up my stuff in Milwaukee and all that was difficult to leave the Bucks and there's a lot of tears there I was read more than ready to take on this adventure and so the NCAA you know they flew us out to Indianapolis where the NCAA headquarters are and they talked to us about the commitments in this internship and what it means and they paid for a good portion of my master's 37:00degree which was phenomenal encompass with a lot of cool experiences like going to the NCAA Final Four for the women's in Boston and Cleveland and I went out to Vegas during this time to learn more about just wellness and health and all of these things to help support our athletes and so I traveled quite a bit during that two years and also was an assistant to our athletic director at the time Al Ackerman so he put me on specific jobs and maybe the golf sponsorships for UW Oshkosh golf outings and things like that so I have a lot of great experience in a short amount of time and I had the capacity not married no kids so it was

really perfect timing in my life to experience something like that I just felt very honored and humbled that I was chosen to serve in that capacity as a woman and minority internships through the NCAA

ZT: So what specifically did you do like for the internship like what was the like the main driving purpose behind it like what things did you do during it


AF: Yeah specifically I was the graduate assistant for the women's basketball program so that was my main title and with that I would help with our budget I would help with our accommodations to make sure we're you know our hotels and we're saying you know overnight in superior or what not along with the bussing and just some of the travel arrangements so logistics behind you know our kiddos I forgot how I just showed up to practice and I showed up you know to the to the coach bus and I showed up to the game and how there's so much work that goes behind the scenes so that we have that luxury and that opportunity to perform at that level so I was on the other you know sideline and see if you will picture the sideliner playing in the sidelines of coaching and it was awesome was a great experience and then I also was again the assistant to with the athletic directors any on an end jobs that he needed and we had two great administrative assistants and Susie Guskie and Leanne in those two would help pile on my plate 39:00too if I needed you know more things to do but but really and basketball focus getting my Master's focus and then also the position of assisting our athletic director

ZT: It must have been weird to be on the sidelines and not have a uniform on and not be able to go in and play and it must have just been a big transition that would become a coach

AF: Yeah absolutely especially since it was short amount of time and it's in transition where I actually now was coaching some of the players I had played with when they were freshmen as I was a senior so I think it's a remarkable transition it's humbling and it's difficult but I think just another thing that prepared me for life in a different way

ZT: Yeah I can definitely relate to what you just said about coaching someone that um you played with because when I was on the golf team when I was a senior there was a freshman who played and then like two years later like a year later 40:00so like a year ago I would like help the coach out at one of the meets like I was the assistant coach watching these guys plays like I played with these guys all the time this is so weird yeah it's very different and then you came back obviously you know the basketball and like the assistant to the athletic director was big um but you went for educational leadership what was that like coming back to come back to school and get your masters

AF: Yeah it was remarkable the master's program at Oshkosh I cannot speak highly enough of I loved my undergraduate with radio tv Film but I really loved getting my masters in educational leadership the professors and some of the ??? professors that they had brought on that had some different life experiences to share with us in this leadership to master's program was remarkable I remember a professor gosh I can't remember Courtney Bode or Bauder think it was his last 41:00name he was so influential and it was talking about leadership and diversity and so just things like that in the autonomy to be able to do different projects so instead of a thesis paper or a final recap of things I was able to bring an event here in

and that was really more of my ally no pun intended but that was my way more of my ally to bring something an event to UWO and so with within that master's program aside from all the learnings that went on on a day to day basis over those two years of full-time you know hardcore program was the wonderful opportunity to bring the first Relay for Life to UW Oshkosh and so with a campus of over 13000 kiddos we had never entertained that idea for whatever reason and so when couple friends of mine got the the wind that this was something that we 42:00could do and certainly benefit from as cancer just became more relevant as an issue right in more aware where there's more awareness around it we thought we can do this and certainly there was three or four of us on the committee and we worked strongly with the American Cancer Society and we brought the first first-ever Relay for Life to UW Oshkosh

ZT: So was the experience like like how much work did you have to go through to bring that here like what was like what did you have to go through to get that here and then obviously you said before that unit turned out to be one of the biggest first relays so how was that whole experience for you

AF: Yeah it was tremendous I mean the time and commitment was willing you know like that was what I was a willing participant because to me bringing able to impact lives and bring an event here to raise money for something I believed in especially my grandmother of ours she had passed away from cancer you know shortly before that and I remember thinking to myself this is a way to honor her 43:00and all these other people that have had family members that are close and loving pass from this crazy crazy disease and so one of the things is is it wasn't it was a lot of work Zaine but it wasn't so much because to me sitting behind closed doors and writing a paper while that comes natural to some people it does not come natural to me so for me to be able to get out and be involved and communicate to the community how we're going to bring this thing here and what are some things we wanted to do and I remember one thing in particular Kellie Meyer at the time she was one of the gals on the committee that was a huge driver and she said Ali were getting these shirts that say cancer souks and I mean we're just going to thought we were just going to sell them throughout the entire campus and I swear for years to come I saw cancer suck shirts everywhere in people people just wore them in support of what we were trying to do because yeah it does sucks we thought why not and yeah it was literally the 44:00first um one of the first largest first-year relays in the state of Wisconsin in fact in part to all everybody's contribution clearly but we raised over 51 thousand dollars in our first year and that was something that they had thought was pretty spectacular so to be completely transparent it was the second-largest first year relay in the state yeah

ZT: And that was done you did all that though through your that was through your master's degree

AF: Yeah so they were so flexible and I said what about this concept instead of me doing a thesis paper you know and then whatever that looks like this all this research and while that's very important and I think there's a lot that can be learned what if I brought this event or what if myself and two other team members or I should say two other classmates from our leadership excellence and leadership for program type thing brought this to UWO with

that suffice for thesis paper and they said yeah it might be more hours than 45:00what you would do normally in a thesis paper and I was just so grateful that they were open minded to that concept because think it now correct me if I'm wrong but do we still have the Relay for Life on campus

ZT: I think we do I'm not a hundred percent sure but I do think we do AF: Okay awesome

ZT: And then alright oh yeah I was going to say like it kind of goes back to how you said um like you said being a radio tv film major you kind of look at things different and then one you know you get to this you're like yeah can I do this project instead and it's almost like even though it's more work it's less hard work because it's something that you want to do and like it's more

AF: I'm probably naturally better at that than yeah papers as well but minor was a journalism Zaine I'm going to be the first admit my grammar is awful and that's not something any professor could have helped me with I came in with that that struggle that that you know wart if you will that weakness well beyond any 46:00professor here at UW Oshkosh but really it just became natural to want to produce an event into make it pretty awesome so it was in Kolf sports arena and we have lots of Participants and it was just a pretty spectacular first year

ZT: For sure especially like bringing from that big to your University for the first time that had to be pretty special

AF: That's pretty awesome

ZT: Alright moving past college um so what do you do now what like what's your position now what do you do

AF: Yeah so on from there there's been a lot of careers in the middle I'll just kind of journey you know them just so you have that nugget because there's lot to first it was the NBA then it was the NCAA row in between that first it was NBC 26 and that internship that turned into a job and then left that forth the NBA and then left that for the NCAA and then in UW Oshkosh right and getting my master's which was amazing and then after that I personally trained people at 47:00you fit personal training for awhile just enjoyed that intimacy of helping some unbreachable kind of another form of coaching if you will and then from there I decided okay well maybe you know I should get something a little bit more full-time and that sort of thing and so I was just getting ready to potentially leave the state and I got a call from Al Ackerman that said hey do you know that the Lourde's Academy girls basketball position high school girls basketball position is open and I think you'd be a great for their community and what what they deliver and I think it aligns a lot with your values well now growing up going to Catholic schools my whole life and St Joseph's Academy it just seemed right and so I applied to the job and luckily enough John Cleaver and Tony Blando saw something in me and they thought that at 25 I should run the program so at 25 years old I get into that and I coached for eight years and loved every 48:00minute of it and our team went to state the fifth year I was there and we took home silver ball still not a golden ball but it's a still very rewarding nonetheless and then after that got tapped on the shoulder I was the secretary at the high school and then got tapped on the shoulder yet again and then

became the elementary school principal of Lourdes elementary school and huge honor but at 26 I think it was at the time did not know what I was doing actually never taught a day in my life and someone said now I think you can run an entire school and I said wow well you've got a lot of trust in me so I don't want to let anybody down here but literally I remember the only training I got to becoming an elementary principal was hey you got jiggle that key a little bit and lift up on your handle and that's how you get into your office you know and then it was kind of like good luck you know and so you either sink or swim at 49:00that time and so I had a lot of wonderful mentors and great people around me but so the principal for five years and then I am now at Verve the credit union in town so Verve a credit union and I'm actually at the universal location our corporate office right behind the outlet mall yeah and I love it I'm in our talent development section and so I really get to help people develop not just in their positions but more importantly people so that they can continue to grows persons and I also help our leaders understand the task and what it calls of them to be great leaders is the difficult thing

ZT: Yeah so what was it like you know out of college and you know you kind of been in basketball your whole life and you know you were like an assistant coach at you know here at Oshkosh but then you kind of you get go be it you know a head coach at a high school like how how was that like changing from being an 50:00assistant coach to like the one in charge

AF: Yeah that was the transition and I you know while I'll say you know it takes a special person to be an assistant coach because really you are there as you know you kind of are the the hope though the glue is you will where the head coach makes those final tough decisions game time decisions kind of sets the vision for the program so both are equally important but the transition to the head was pretty awesome is the sense that it was like hey what could this look like and what what if we did certain things so we started get more involved in the community at the high school level and we did several community outreach programs at Lourde's that were beyond just the games so one of them in particular was a Christmas outreach program and we raised over three thousand dollars that we brought several families at Christmas that they normally would not have had otherwise another thing we did was we raised money for breast cancer and so we did something every 51:00year that was a think-tank type of thing in February and it was pretty awesome and by the time I left I think we raised over twenty five thousand dollars that went back into our community and to women that cannot AF:ford mammograms that money went right back into our community and stayed local which is pretty spectacular and then the last thing I'm so proud of was my basketball girls is we got involved in clarity care and clarity care is a local business that really helps adults or people with disabilities or limitations get more integrated into the community right here in our back yard and so we would invite our clarity care friends to come to games and be involved in our locker room and and practice and we'd always get them a t-shirt for the think pink event and a popcorn and a soda and you would be surprised as to what that small gesture how 52:00that much that little thing in our mind can impact a life greatly and so it would be on just the basketball that I think personally I had such a joy of connecting on is really the community with Lourdes and working together to better Oshkosh as a whole and and obviously the winning of the games was spectacular in

trying to build state ranked team you know but that's that was my job the other things were just a passion you know and my dad always said to me Ali if you are just coaching to win basketball games then I'll be sorely sad because you're way more important as a role model in their lives than to just try to win basketball games you're there to help build amidst people and better members of society and so that's what we always tried to do

ZT: That's a good way to go about it what was it like on the small point you went to you went to state when you were a player in high school what was it like 53:00being a coach at you had your fifth year you made it to state how did that atmosphere like different

AF: Oh is spectacular so when we went to state aim high school it was in Milwaukee and it was a smaller atmosphere where when we went to state as a coach we were at the Kohl Center and it was a last year that they held the women's state tournament at the Kohl Center now they switched it to Green Bay to the Resch Center but it was spectacular I mean it was electric I remember feeling like so different where when I was a player it was like I just love to play the game and yeah I want to win but I just love basketball where the coach it was like I'm responsible for helping support these ladies more mentally than physically at that point right because that point you're good enough to be there physically it's about the mental game and so that's the huge responsibility but 54:00I remember just being so humbled and appreciative to be there and it was it was an awesome opportunity and one that I will literally never forget be able to tell tales to my grandchildren I'm sure someday about how awesome it was as a coach versus player while both are important I think watching my kids be able to benefit from all their hard work because so many young women put in such a large amount of time and effort never get that opportunity to play on that kind offstage so super proud of them the awesome

ZT: Yeah and I'm moving on what was it like just kind of switching to I'm just kind of talking about all your jobs you have graduates how is it like kind of being almost like you said thrown into the fire being a principal yeah that kind of sounds like you weren't really told what to do and you're kind of just like hey this is your job we're not going to tell you how to do it

AF: Yeah exactly so the empowerment was tremendous the the I felt like wow talk 55:00about not being micromanaged you know that was spectacular so I had the creativity and the freedom to lead and serve the way I felt to be true now it was my youthfulness and my lack of experience certainly I had guidance but not to the degree that most people would in their first year as a principal and I really found it was a transition for me but I think the main thing I had to focus in on is building community and building team and that I was familiar with so I didn't need to know a lot about the tactics of teaching and X's and O's of the classroom I needed to know how to bring a group of teachers together to love and care and support one another in our journey of building better young people right to go on and help them have a personal relationship with the Lord that was my job is to teach them you know how to pray and what that looks like for each 56:00one of them and build them up their self-esteem as well as their kindness so it was important to have the little things be made the big things so that we could capitalize on that goal

ZT: Right so how did your mainly what you've got your masters and you know the educational leadership how did that like transition into like your career and like how did it help because it seems like a lot of your positions really related to that so it almost seemed like you went into the right field

AF: Yeah I think so Zaine I honestly leadership has always been something that's been fascinating to me whether it's coaching whether it's being a point guard and trying to help lead or serve a team or be led you know I think big part of leadership is understanding when it needs to be shared and when you need to step back and let somebody else be the experts and all of these things and so you know the journey itself has been tremendous but that educational leadership 57:00component while I learned of so many great tactics until I applied them in real life experience and to be completely honest fell flat on my face or skin my knees or tripped or whatever you want to call it I learned just as much from the wrong choices I made as a leader as I did from the right choices and so I think at this point in my career what I'm able to do is really recognize the areas I stumbled and try to help people prevent that type of stumble so that they can if they're going to stumble when they're going to stumble it's in their own way and it's little bit more educated on how to serve people better

ZT: Right absolutely and you said you played point guard AF: Yeah

ZT: All right I was going to ask that but you answered it right there

AF: Yeah so point guard is my position and I was responsible for kind of being the general on the floor in and I loved it I certainly talked a lot so that was 58:00easy for coming from a radio TV film major it wasn't and I remember all my teammates when I transferred and they thought wow this chick talks a lot and it continued for the two years I played here and it was one of those things where I felt like is my responsibility to communicate what was happening when it was happening and sometimes just stating the obvious to my team about you know plays that coach wanted to run and things that we could do differently in order to capitalize and my job was really to put people in positions to succeed and crazily enough that's kind of my job now is at Verve is to help put people in positions to succeed and so it's one of those things that is rewarding for me to help others grow into become their best selves

ZT: Seems like your the point guard at your job

AF: Yeah that's so funny that's a really great analogy I'm going to have to use that one

ZT: Basketball will never leave


AF: Yeah exactly those analogies will always continue

ZT: Yeah for sure um yeah so we've we've hit our hour I learned definitely a lot

AF: Good is there anything else thats pressing or not as it relates to this that you would like to know

ZT: I think asked it all

AF: Okay awesome think the other couple names that remind me of UW Oshkosh is like a Burke Tower who was our mayor here at Oshkosh and also was a professor for a very long

time and his willingness to just share anything and everything I remember when was telling him about my masters and some things I was doing he takes several books off the shelf that he had said he read these Al these will help benefit you know your career and just who you are as a person and and you know just so many people Darrell Sims Pat Cerroni the head coach for football had been a huge mentor of mine and somebody that I know if I didn't have in my life because of 60:00Oshkosh that we you know I would not be where I am today so yeah very grateful for the family and Titan pride and we're always posting on Facebook now that we have Facebook because when I went to school we didn't have facebook or text messaging or any of that we're always you know posting Hail Titans you know it's just a hail titans it's pretty pretty neat tradition to be a part of

ZT: Yeah the Athletics here are definitely like a big part of the tradition here like we seem to succeed at most of our programs yeah and it's kind of nice coming from a high school who is always you know borderline maybe we'll make the playoffs maybe we won't to come to a school that's like really good at everything they do and that's kind of nice

AF: Awesome good good well thank you for choosing me

ZT: Of course I saw the radio TV film and I was like yeah let's go with that and then turned out with a lot more common too you know sports the journalism minor the odd mind AF: Yeah well this is fabulous thank you so much

ZT: And then we talked about the the deed of gift I'll email it to you

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