College Spotlight: Eckleberry Proves Valuable for Fairmont State - Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

College Spotlight: Eckleberry Proves Valuable for Fairmont State

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Jenna Eckleberry has never been afraid to dream big. The Fairmont State assistant coach is in her tenth year with the program - seven as a coach following three as a player. But she aspires for something even higher than she has already accomplished.

"I think any assistant coach, their long-term goal is to be a head coach. Everyone gets excited thinking about the motivation talk you're going to give your team before a game, or your first timeout you're going to call."
This goal-oriented philosophy is nothing new to Eckleberry. It started when she was only seven years old.
"I always thought I was going to be the first girl to play in the NBA, and then I actually wrote a book about it when I was in the second grade, I think. By the fourth, fifth grade when I realized that wasn't going to come true, I knew immediately I wanted to be a coach."
Head coach Steve McDonald recruited Eckleberry when she decided to transfer from Robert Morris University after her freshman season. He says that once she got to Fairmont State, her knowledge of the game made her a prime coaching candidate after her playing career was over.
"Coach Jenna was the consummate coach on the floor as a player. There are many times that I remember when she would say, 'Coach, we have a foul to give, do you want us to give it?'"
Now, one thing you never want to do with Coach Jenna is doubt that she can still play basketball, because she'll prove you wrong pretty quickly.
"I play horse with the players and you know just messing around. They don't ever want to test me. They know. They get scared. No, I'm just kidding."

Although she can still hit a lay-up, Eckleberry will be patrolling the sidelines this Thursday as Fairmont State takes on West Virginia State. From Fairmont for 12 Sports, I'm Jim Sannes.