Josi Schultz found basketball as a player. The head coaching position found her.

In December, Schultz got a phone call she didn't see coming. Already an assistant with the Chugiak boys basketball team, head coach Jocquis Sconiers was fired for a recruiting violation. When he was let go, Schultz assumed the school would start putting out feelers to fill the spot. Instead, they called her.

"I was shocked," she said. "It was kind of unexpected."  

She didn't campaign for the job. A graduate of Wisconsin-Stevens, she played basketball for the school and arrived in Alaska four years ago. She'd done some coaching at East High School and the Arctic Winter Games.

But being a head coach wasn't in her plan. She's a physical education teacher at Chugiak/Eagle River and running a high school program requires an enormous amount of time. 

"Head coaching always seemed like a big commitment and I've surprisingly liked it. It's been chaos, it's been stressful, but I've surprisingly liked it more than I thought I would," she said.

Women have coached boys sports in Alaska before, but it's still unusual.

"I don't know, maybe because they go shirts and skins," she said after the team's 74-57 loss to host West High School at the Alaska Airlines Classic. "I don't know. The ball is round, the hoop is still round, so same game. I don't think any position should be gender specific. We should all find the person who can the do job the best and we take that person. Hopefully, I'm the best for this one."

She realizes that her job description is much more than three-point shots or a zone defense. 

 "To create respectable young people," she said about her role. "People that when their generation gets to a spot, we're not having conversations about who's doing what job. Is it a boy? Is it a girl? That we respect people for what they do and well they do it."

And Schultz is showing a generation of students at Chugiak that some lessons don't show up in the box score.

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