The St. Norbert Women’s basketball team tips off the second half of Midwest Conference play Wednesday at Beloit, but there’s a lot more than normal stakes riding on this regular season matchup. Connie Tilley, St. Norbert’s legendary leader is just one win away from becoming the 13th Coach in NCAA Division III history to reach 600 wins.. a number her players can’t even fathom.
“That’s a lot, it really is a lot. I mean she's been here forever. I'd say she's the best coach I've ever had for four years, I'm really glad she is my coach but yeah 600. She's excited! She doesn't show it but she is,” Senior Morgan Heim weighed in.
“Well for me it is just a number. And I think when I reflect on it it’s going to be about the hundreds of kids that I've coached cause I basically prepare them, but there they ones that play the game,” Connie Tilley said.
Tilley's been coaching almost twice as long as her current players have been born. 37 years at the helm of the Green Knights! Her passion for the game helps her find ways to keep things interesting and fun.
“I think every year I reevaluate stuff and I know a lot of coaches that use the excuse of burning out and stuff like that, well I have all summer, you know and I spend a lot of time during the summer reflecting on how I could have done better and how I can change it up so it’s not always the same thing and that's what keeps it exciting for me,” Tilley commented.
Tilley has earned wins over 79 different schools, in fact she alone has more wins than all of the other Midwest Conference coaches combined.
“I feel like every other team every different opponent comes out and knows that we're St. Norbert, knows that she's Connie Tilley. Like everyone wants to beat her, everyone wants to beat us so it’s just a privilege, we take that as a team and just run with it,” explained Senior Lana Tomashek.
Making the milestone even more special, Tilley's first opportunity to earn her 600th win will come in her hometown of Beloit Wednesday night.
“Think I got 300 there to so it’s like a big deal kinda thing, both my parents are buried there. I'm going to have my cousins there, that'd be special. If I can't have it at home the only other place I'd probably want it is at Beloit,” Tilley said.
When Tilley reached the 500-win plateau SNC's court was named after her... so what do you get for #600?
“I don't want anything, I just want to continue doing what I'm doing and having fun doing it and that’s all that matters to me right now”.
For now, the girl who dreamed of coaching basketball since she was 5-years-old, will continue to live out her storybook career. She tells us, as of now, she has no plans of slowing down.