Veteran coach Jody Adams-Birch was announced as the newest head coach of New Mexico State University’s women’s basketball team earlier this spring on March 31. This appointment comes after a losing season in which the Aggies had a 10-19 overall record and a 6-12 conference record under the previous head coach.
Adams-Birch is expected to improve the form of the team through her 27 years of coaching experience and 185 Division I wins. She most recently won the 2022 Missouri Valley Conference tournament as the head coach at Southern Illinois University after finishing the season with a 15-3 conference record.
Coach Adams-Birch took the time recently to speak with Kokopelli reporter Javier Gallegos. Here is the transcript of that interview.
Kokopelli: How has your first month in Las Cruces been so far?
Adams-Birch: Well, it has just been a heartfelt transition with all these people welcoming me. They’re just so engaged and interested with the women’s basketball program. It’s just been heartwarming. I’ve said that over and over. It’s been a beautiful transition. I couldn’t have asked for anything more. My staff and I talk about it often. People have extended help and have gone above and beyond what you could ever dream about.
Kokopelli: How would you describe your coaching style?
Adams-Birch: I would describe my coaching style as passionate, encouraging. I think our style of play needs that because it’s tenacious on defense. We like to get after it. We’re scrappy. We like to get up and down the floor. I think our brand of basketball is exciting and fun to watch. I think student athletes love to play in our system because it is fun. It is engaging. The crowd gets into it. It’s a fun brand of basketball.
Kokopelli: What would you say is your favorite or proudest moment of your coaching career thus far?
Adams-Birch: I would say it’s moments. And those moments are hearing from former student athletes that are mothers today, that are business owners today. They are women that have been empowered through being a part of our program and are living a successful, inspiring life and paying it forward.
Kokopelli: How will your great experience with recruitment help the Aggie basketball team?
Adams-Birch: I think, sure, you do a lot of recruiting as a head coach, but I also don’t do this by myself. I have wonderful people around me. Anything that moves forward in this program is collectively me and my staff. I think when it comes to recruiting and someone choosing us and us choosing them, that person embodies our culture. Our culture is about big belief. Our culture is for empowering each other. It’s about picking each other up instead of putting each other down or talking about each other. We talk each other up. Our culture embodies work ethic, competing. But most of all is choosing to love one another. And I think when you get to the hearts behind the jersey as a coach and a coaching staff, that’s when unbelievable things happen because you understand what drives their heart or drives their behavior. We want to build a culture of young women that embody that in some way. Obviously to play at this level, you have to be talented. You have to have the skills and athleticism, but character and integrity are huge within our program.
Kokopelli: How does it feel to be a head coach alongside Greg Heiar after previously working with him earlier in your career?
Adams-Birch: Oh yeah, Greg and I go back to the Wichita days. Greg is an awesome young man. Obviously, our offices are connected. There isn’t a day I don’t get to see him or he gets to see us or I’m in his office or he’s in my office. So, there’s a lot of energy, I would say, between the two offices. I would just consider us winners, and winners love to be around other winners. It’s an honor and a blessing to be back with him.
Kokopelli: What do Aggie basketball fans have to look forward to?
Adams-Birch: I’m just thinking an exciting brand of basketball and to have some wonderful role models out on the court competing and giving it their all. If you have young women or young kids who want to be a part of an exciting environment, if you yourself want to be a part of an exciting environment and have fun, then you’ll want to be sitting in the stands watching us.
Kokopelli: Are there any final comments you’d like to add?
Adams-Birch: I’m just very grateful, very honored to be the new leader of the program and excited to be out in the community and be where I need to be to serve this community.