by Elise Goitia '18
Knox College Prairie Fire women's basketball head coach Emily Cline has returned from Austria, where she led a team to victory in The United World Games.
The international sports tournament is held annually, with more than 400 teams representing more than 40 countries competing in different sports this year. Cline coached an American team of young women age 19 and under.
"The American International Sports Teams (AIST) needed a coach, so I reached out to them and they selected me," she said. "I've had players go on tour with AIST, so I was familiar with them."
Cline's team, titled the American International Sports Teams Stripes, was made up of six players who won the championship against another American team.
This isn't the first time Cline has coached internationally. This summer, Cline made her second trip to the Dominican Republic, where she conducted free basketball and volleyball clinics.
"I have been fortunate to travel to Bolivia, Costa Rica, Ireland, Dominican Republic, and now Germany, Austria, and Italy through basketball trips," she commented. "I enjoy it immensely, and it's a great way to get to see the world, experience other cultures, and grow as a coach."
Cline said that these trips combine her love for basketball and coaching with her love for traveling. "Basketball has taken me places I would never have thought possible."
She added that being able to coach internationally has made her a better coach, in that international games have different rules than the U.S. college game, so she has to be more creative, "I enjoy that challenge," she said.
"It's also a more laid-back atmosphere," said Cline. "You're focused on basketball, but the cultural and travel experiences are just as or even more important than the basketball aspect."
Cline has served as head women's basketball coach at Knox since 2008. Her Prairie Fire squads have set numerous school records. During the 2014-15 season, the team led NCAA Division III in steals per game (18.5) and offensive rebounds per game (22.1) while ranking second in the nation in scoring offense (90.0 points per game) and three-point field goals per game (10.5).
The biggest influences on her success, she said, are the student players she's coached at Knox, and the opportunity to "interact with all kinds of people, from all over the world" at Knox College.
"These players have influenced the way I do things, the way I coach, the way I relate to people, and the way I think," Cline said. "Just like any teacher/student relationship, it's often the teacher who learns the most."