Dad made me who I am
I've been fortunate to have a lot of people help me get to where I am today as a basketball player.
There was Mr. Hermann, my first coach. I had him the shortest period of time of any coach, but he's one who stands out in my memory because he was so positive and showed me what I needed to do to be successful. There was also Jeff Walz at Louisville. He didn't just take the team places no one ever thought we could go -- like the Big East championship game and the Final Four -- but he helped make me better and took me to another level. His guidance helped me transition into becoming a woman.
But the one person who's always been there who has had the most impact on me becoming the player I am today is my dad, Roi McCoughtry.
My dad is one of the most awesome guys on earth. He's a retired pastor and a godly man who lives life the right way. He works hard for his family, he's been great to my mom for 30 years and he's been a great dad. I get so many compliments about him. Every time people meet him they just say, "Wow, your dad is awesome."
My dad played basketball at Coppin State in the 1970s, when they were ranked No. 1 among small black colleges. By the time I was growing up, he played basketball just for fun and for exercise, but I still couldn't beat him. I didn't beat him until I was about 17 or 18.
Even though my dad had played basketball and my mom, Sharon, didn't play sports, my mom actually helped get me started in basketball when I was 8. At first I didn't even want to play, but she encouraged me, so I kept playing. My dad was so busy I don't think he even knew my athletic ability at the time. But then he saw I had game, and he's always been there supporting me.
My dad has helped me both on and off the court. On the court, he was always willing to help me work on my game. When the gyms in Baltimore would close, he would drive me to a Run N' Shoot in D.C. that was open 24 hours, and we'd be there until midnight working on my game.
Off the court, he was always pushing me in the right direction, staying on my case to help me make good decisions and keep on the right path. In high school I remember I wanted to just go to junior college because I didn't have high enough SAT scores, but he said, "No, you're not going to junior college. You're going to get four years at a D-I university."
If I didn't have him pushing me, who knows where I would have ended up.
When I was at Louisville, he was the biggest fan. He was always keeping up with the school and the team and coming to all the games. It was an eight-hour drive from Maryland, and driving through the mountains of West Virginia was not easy, especially in the winter. It was tough, but he did it. He was supportive like no other.
And now, he and my mom even moved down here to Atlanta last year. Baltimore is going through some tough times, and I think they moved to kind of start over. So now I get to see and talk to them all the time, and of course they're at every home game. It's nice to have family here to support me and help me with whatever I need.