Women’s college basketball has been devoid of an ambassador since the late great Pat Summitt, but the game’s new face stands tall with a passion, and his name is Vic Schaefer. In addition to turning the Bulldogs into a powerhouse and likely dynasty, his love for the game has brought out the best in his team and contemporaries along the sidelines. Comparable to Summit, Schaefer demands the best with a focused demeanor, but knows when to have fun as well. Whether it be spraying water all over the locker room or taking selfies with fans, he has become a staple at Mississippi State on and off the court.
Following an SEC Championship and perfect 30-0 season, Schaefer has all the reason to smile. Toughness has been the mentality on a game by game basis, and it’s worked wonders. Any coach could have that mindset, but Schaefer has given toughness an entirely new meaning. While he does not emphasize solely on mental or physical, Schaefer has been able to instill a dose both in his team, a gift only so many possess.
Having said that, trust and respect go a long way. Schaefer epitomizes that notion to its entirety. All 14 Bulldogs from freshman to senior trust their coach and have the utmost respect for him. Schaefer knows how to win, and he does what is in the best interest of everyone to pick up an orange ball and don the maroon and white.
Since 2012 Schaefer has elevated the Bulldogs’ wins and relevance. Following the WNIT Quarterfinals, he took the Bulldogs to the NCAA Second Round. From there it was a birth to the Sweet Sixteen. Then we all knew what happened when Morgan William hit arguably the most clutch shot in college basketball history, as Mississippi State made its first ever national championship appearance.
Schaefer coaches with a certain attitude and overall outlook on the game, as it has shown with this year’s team. Whether it be developing freshman or trusting the seniors, he has brought Mississippi State together. Unity is another essential element when it comes to a coach’s relationship with their players, and it has been on full display.
No matter how insightful or nonsensical of a question, Schaefer knows how to handle the media. Unlike the Nick Saban’s of the world, he has more patience than most. Schaefer is in the spotlight for all the right reasons, as he holds himself and his team to the highest of standards off the court.
While Schaefer a proud coach, he is also a proud father, as daughter Blair has been nothing short of sensational throughout her senior campaign. The game’s best father-daughter duo has been amazing and this season’s feel good story. When watching Blair drain three after three, game after game, Vic has had no choice but to smile ear to ear.
With all the requisite pieces around him, Schaefer is in prime position to hoist a championship trophy come March. By no means will it be easy, but if there’s any coach that can take their team to the promised land, it’s this man. Vic is a winner with the heart of a lion and unrivaled work ethic. He has taken the Bulldogs into a new stratosphere and is changing the game for the best right before our very eyes, ultimately becoming a predominant figure on and off the hardwood.