Courtney Kust's impact on the NCAA sectional-bound Hope College women's basketball team can be seen up and down the Flying Dutch's talented roster.
The 26-year-old assistant coach has contributed to her alma mater's current and past success in many ways, whether through one-on-one individual drills, recruiting, scouting preparation, or offering timely words of encouragement.
The program, sponsored by Marriott Rewards® program, was created to recognize 30 up-and-coming women's basketball coaches age 30 and under at all levels of the game. Honorees exemplify the best of the next generation of women's coaches by their involvement in community service, mentorship and impact on others, professional manner, attitude and professional association involvement.
Photos of Courtney Kust by from left, Junebug Photography and Tom Renner
Head coach Brian Morehouse said he is grateful to the WBCA for recognizing his talented assistant.
"Courtney possesses the rare ability to combine basketball knowledge with a passion to assist student-athletes in each phase of their lives," Morehouse said. "Whether it's putting a player through a workout, designing plays, talking the athlete through a challenging decision, discussing a class, or sharing her faith by leading a mission trip to Costa Rica, Courtney is investing in student-athletes' lives.
"As a coach, she's helped make me a better leader and impacted the way we teach the game at Hope. I'm blessed to count her as a close friend, colleague, and mentor. She's very deserving of the WBCA 'Thirty Under 30' award!"
Kust will be recognized at the WBCA Convention later this month held in conjunction with the NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Final Four in Columbus, Ohio.
"I am completely humbled and feel honored to be receiving this award," Kust said. "While my main goal as an assistant coach is to give back to the program that taught me so much, I am still blown away and very appreciative that the WBCA would honor me as a 'Thirty Under 30' coach. On a daily basis, my goal is to influence the lives of these players and bring out the best in them as players and as people, just like I was influenced during my time at Hope."
Kust completed her fourth season as assistant coach for the Flying Dutch, who finshed the season with a 29-2 record after reaching the round of eight in the NCAA Tournament.
Kust also works as a manager for the Events and Conference Office (ECO) at Hope College. Her responsibilities for ECO include developing and coordinating events, conferences and camps. She mostly deals with athletic events as well as overseeing student workers who are summer housing assistants, first responders and gameday operators in the audio visual booth.
Kust is a 2013 Hope graduate and two-time All-Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association honoree for the Flying Dutch. She scored 943 points over four seasons while helping the Flying Dutch achieve a 110-12 overall record, one national runner-up trophy in 2010, three NCAA Tournament appearances and three MIAA championships.
After graduating with a bachelor's degree in business management, Kust earned a master's degree in sports administration from Xavier University in her hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio.
Co-captain Jacquelyn Schwark has played under Kust for four years. The starting forward from Fraser, Michigan (Lutheran North HS) is thankful for the impact Kust has made on her — first as a person and second as a basketball player.
"She's truly gone above and beyond of what should be expected of any coach," Schwark said. "She has just given so much and helped me in my own personal basketball game, never letting me just stay where I am, always encouraging me and pushing me to get better. She's my go-to coach on and off the court for anything. She's been so great to have here and has been such a blessing in my life."