Keeping up with your coaches: Jessica Basford

The Rockford Public Schools athletic programs have made tremendous progress this decade in sports such as soccer, football and volleyball. The gains have not been as great so far in the stick-and-ball sports – baseball and softball. Jessica Basford is a 2003 Richmond-Burton graduate who is entering her third year as head coach of Auburn’s softball program – as well a freshman volleyball coach. She is trying to build a tradition where none has existed. Here’s a little more about Jessica:

Full-time Job:  Science teacher at Auburn High School

Athletic background: Played travel softball, club volleyball, and high school volleyball, basketball, and softball. Avid runner who has completed several 5ks and a 10k and aims to run a 15K in the fall.

College/additional educational background: Graduated from Carroll University in 2007 with a BS in Biology and a Minor in Psychology. Earned teaching license from National-Louis University in 2009 and MA in Teaching Secondary Education from National-Louis University in 2015.

Q: Why did you get into coaching?

A: “I started playing tee-ball when I was 5, and I have been playing team sports ever since. When I started my education classes, I immediately knew I wanted to continue with team sports and work with young athletes.  So much of my personality is due to playing competitive team sports throughout my life, and I was lucky to have some really amazing coaches.”

Q: What coach in your life had the biggest influence and why?

A: “My high school softball coaches, Jill Peterson and Jody Bodi.  They always challenged me to be the best version of myself as an athlete, a student, and a person.  Much of who I am today is because of them.”

Q: What is your favorite motivational quote and/or motivational song?

A: My favorite motivational quote is: “Progress always involves risks.  You can’t steal second base and keep your foot on first.” – Frederick B. Wilcox. My favorite pump up song – as cheesy as it sounds – is Eye of the Tiger.  It was a song that my high school volleyball team listened to on repeat pretty much every game day.

Q: Where would your student-athletes most likely find you this summer?

A: “My athletes can find me most weekends on a softball field coaching my 12U travel team, Stateline Fury.  On Tuesdays, I’ll be working with my softball players in our RPS 205 summer league with East and Jefferson.  I’ll be sticking around Rockford for most of the summer.”

Q: What is something your student-athletes would be surprised to learn about you?

A: “I have been playing the piano since I was 7 years old.”

Q: What is your favorite thing about Rockford and/or your favorite place in the area?

A: “I really like how welcoming Rockford is to new people.  City Market, Rockford Art Deli, and Wired Cafe are a few of my favorite places.  The whole downtown area is really cool.”

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about coaching?

A: “Watching my student athletes grow on the field or court and as human beings.  I have been lucky enough to coach high school sports for seven years, and I am always so proud of the young women my student athletes become as they finish up high school.”

Q: What is the most difficult challenge as a coach?

A: “One of the most difficult challenges as a coach is rebuilding a program that hasn’t experienced a lot of success in the past.”

Q: When was your proudest moment as a coach?​

A: “The first time I watched one of my former student athletes play for her college was one of the proudest moments of my coaching career.  I have had five student athletes go on to play college softball.  Seeing them succeed at the next level is an incredible experience.”


Posted on 07.11.17