If there is a greater love in head Coach Kim Kirkpatrick-Thorton’s life other than women’s basketball, it is her relationship with the Lord. And she hopes that all the players on her team are able to have as great a love for Him as she does.
“It’s awesome for me to see them grow as people, and I hope that they grow and have a stronger relationship with God than when they left here,” she said.
Recently going on a trip to Uganda with the Baylor College of Business for two weeks, Kirkpatrick worked with the Uganda Christian University women’s basketball team and provided them with some new equipment which was donated by UMHB. She also worked with children and helped at a local carnival.
“I think it is important for us to take care of those in need,” she said.
Aside from her strong faith, basketball has been a passion for many years. Receiving a bachelor’s degree in exercise sport science and a master’s of education with an emphasis in exercise physiology, Kirkpatrick had been coaching more than 19 years before coming to coach the Lady Cru.
Once getting her master’s from Baylor University, she coached at the high school level for both volleyball and basketball.
“I loved high school and I loved being a public school educator. I like coaching at that level because I love the players, and I like teaching fundamentals,” Kirkpatrick said.
Despite enjoying the high school level, she does like the collegiate level as well, and her players can vouch for that.
Senior guard Caitlin Barganier likes that Kirkpatrick is always concerned with the women, whether it’s for their personal lives or them as players. According to Barganier, she is always wanting the best from the Lady Cru.
“I feel that Coach K has a big heart and passion for the game,” Barganier said. “She wants us to get every type of experience from basketball that we can in order to take it into the real world.”
Attending some of the women’s games, senior nursing major Ashley Hibbard can see from her seat in the Mayborn Arena that Kirkpatrick loves the game.
“You can tell that she has coached the players to play the game well and when they do something wrong, she’s not afraid to let them know,” she said.
Barganier admits that Kirkpatrick loves winning and hates losing.
But losses now and then are inevitable. What has always drawn Kirkpatrick to the sport was the fast speed at which it is always played.
“One thing I love about it, but you can find this in every sport, is that it teaches so many life lessons,” she said. “Basketball to me is just so exciting, I just enjoy it. I enjoy the game, I enjoy the tempo, I enjoy the pace, I enjoy the intensity about it.”
She said that her high school coach made an impact in her life, which is why she wants to help her players just as her coach did for her.
“One of my greatest passions is to help, especially young people, grow in their relationship with the Lord. God is the greatest love of my life,” Kirkpatrick said. “It’s made the most difference in my life with how I live my life, and I just want to be able to help other young ladies.”