Michigan women”s basketball coach Sue Guevara is the perfect fit for her squad. It is not only her 22 years of college basketball coaching experience that makes Guevara so good for the Wolverines, but it is also what she did before she picked up her whistle and clipboard.

Before taking a job as an assistant coach at Saginaw Valley State in 1980, Guevara played guard there for two years. Her years on the court and the attitude she developed are what make her the most successful women”s basketball coach in Michigan history.

“I used to play the game before anybody ever told me to play the game,” Guevara said.

Guevara was never the tallest nor fastest player on the court, but she did not let that stop her. With her drive and focus, she was able to transcend her physical limitations. Defensively, Guevara felt that no one could beat her if she used her brain instead of her brawn.

“I knew what I wanted to do when I stepped out on the floor,” Guevara said. “I knew if I was defending you I could kick your ass. Even though you might have been quicker and faster, I knew. Because I knew I had to be smarter than you.”

For two years, Guevara played under coach Archie Robinson, a man who pushed her and the team to the limit.

“We ran and ran and ran,” Guevara said. “We ran four miles before we even started practicing.”

In spite of or maybe because of the vigorous practices, Guevara flourished. Her motivation and love for the game of basketball kept her coming back to practice even though it was so demanding.

“I just know I loved coming to practice,” Guevara said.

Her intensity in practice earned her time on the court. Guevara”s intense play continued despite her size, she was able to fight for rebounds.

“That”s one thing as short as I was I could rebound because I pushed and shoved and used that butt and got position,” Guevara said.

Under Robinson, Guevara also learned the importance of knowing her place. As a point guard, it was her job to distribute the ball. She always describes herself as a passer not a shooter, and she cherished her responsibility on the court.

“I knew my role I relished that role. I had to get the ball to the big kids, that was my role,” Guevara said.

Guevara is and always has been a competitor, especially when it comes to rebounding. Her attitude on rebounding is a holdover from her days on the court, when she would not let anyone push her around. This is the mindset she wants to instill into her players.

“(Robinson) had to pull me out of a game one time, because some chick just shoved me,” Guevara said. “I was going in for a rebound and she shoved me. And I was so pissed I turned around and I was going after that kid.”

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