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Cori Close, UCLA

Published on November 01, 2011

by FCA

Cori Close
Alma Mater: University of California, Santa Barbara

Collegiate Coaching Career:

Assistant or Associate Head Coach:
• UCLA (1993-95)
• UC Santa Barbara (1995-2004)
• Florida State University (2004-10)

Head Coach:
• UCLA (2011-Present)

This story originally appeared in FCA Magazine. Subscribe today!

“…‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9

FCA: How did you know UCLA was the right place for you?

CC: I’ve always prayed that God would prepare me to accept the right position when it came along, and this was it. It’s not a job; it’s a lifestyle, and I’m getting to share it with friends and family who have invested so much in me.

It’s exciting because I know it’s the right step. Even in the midst of the chaos and the hard transitioning years ahead, I’m very peaceful because I believe it is the place God has for me.

FCA: What’s been the toughest part of the transition?

CC: The combination of becoming a head coach, moving across the country and leaving people I love. There’s so much chaos in transition. It’s helped me understand the phrase “give us this day, our daily bread,” from the Lord’s Prayer (Luke 11). Each day can be overwhelming, and there are so many things that I don’t get done on my to-do list. I’m literally just asking God to give me what I need for that day. When I pray that verse fervently, live it out and let it sink into my heart, I feel closer to Jesus, and that’s where I need to stay.

FCA: How do you hope to weave faith into your program?

CC: It isn’t as much about what I say as how I live and what I do. I want everyone I encounter to feel valued and loved whether they share my faith or not. I just want to enter their world and serve them and love them in a way that reflects what I’ve received from Jesus.

I believe this is my ministry and what God has called me to. The average Division-I basketball player spends more than 3,000 hours in his or her sport over four years, and only four percent of those hours are in games. No one will spend more personal time with the players than their coaches. I pray that, for me, during those hours, God will provide me with opportunities to affect the lives of our players in deep and meaningful ways.

FCA: How do you manage the “win at all costs” mentality of D-I sports?

CC: The reality is that, if I want to keep this opportunity, we have to win. My overall mission is to teach these women to pursue excellence. If we as a coaching staff are pursuing excellence, modeling it by always looking to improve, and creating habits of excellence in our lives, I believe the wins will take care of themselves. I’m aware that winning games allows me to do what I do, but it’s not the main focus. It’s the product of what we’re already trying to teach.

FCA: How does FCA factor into that goal?

CC: FCA has been a tremendous blessing. I’ve connected with some great people through it, especially women who have sacrificed so much to invest in studentathletes at all levels. Girls are seeking places where they can ask hard questions and get answers. We need ministries like FCA so that they have a place to go with these questions and to learn how to walk through life with Christ.

Originally Published: November 2011

Photos courtesy of UCLA Athletics; Mike Olivella/FSU Sports Information