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The


career of Rhonda Fields as a player and coach is highlighted with numerous awards and honors. A graduate of Panama High School where she


made All-State, two years at Eastern State College where she helped the team receive national recognition and the first female athlete to receive a full scholarship from Oklahoma State University, it’s easy to see why she is respected throughout the state of Oklahoma. Her passion spills over to her players and her knowledge of the game separates her from many of her peers and after 30-years of basketball Rhonda (Kite) Fields isn’t close to being done.


VYPE: Thank you for taking time away from your busy schedule during the Tournament of Champions. What’s special about this tournament?


Fields: This is a tournament of learning and growing. Getting better is always a goal, but playing against such quality opponents can only serve to make you better.


VYPE: Lets talk a little Basketball Theory 101. How many seasons have you coached now?


Fields: This is my 30th season.


VYPE: We’ve seen a lot of changes in that time frame. How much has the game transitioned?


Fields: I played the 6-on-6 game, but colleges play 5-on-5. As an athlete and competitor you adjust your game to fit the rules you’re playing under. When I finished my playing career and started coaching I got back to the 6-on-6 game.


VYPE: What was your first coaching job?


Fields: My first coaching job was at Vanoss High School. Vanoss is a small town just west of Ada. Then I went to East Central University for a while. After ECU I went to Locust Grove. Nine years I coached in 6-on-6. What happen was when it came mandatory for Class 5A and 6A to switch to 5-on-5, that’s when I left. I was at Sulphur then and left for 6A. People thought the girls didn’t have stamina for it, but they proved they do. This tournament (Tournament of Champions) is a great example. They have the stamina, strength and skills.


VYPE: In those days there was almost a civil war over girls basketball!


Fields: That was a battle for a while. Why should or shouldn’t the girls change over. Once it changed that was really where I wanted to be. I love small towns, but once they switch I had to get to the 5-on- 5 game.


VYPE: Is there a difference today between the 6A game and


small school basketball? Do schools like Ft. Gibson or Kansas have a shot in tournaments like this?


Fields:


Sometimes in the larger schools we rely on more


athleticism. In the smaller schools it’s such a community event. Everyone loves to support the school. And it’s so fundamentally sound. Expectations are different. Maybe more so. My kids learned a lot of good lessons playing smaller schools.


VYPE: You seem to enjoy coaching athletes that are willing to commit themselves to the team.


Fields: Each of our coaches has an area of responsibility. Each addresses certain things in those areas that we’re not fundamentally sound in. At our last practice we had them take the court, run the drills then back into the locker room for some instructions from one coach handling a certain aspect of the game. They were in and out of the locker room several times with urgency and speed. The point was to be able to keep our focus and still remain calm under the pressure and under stressful circumstances.


VYPE: Who’s the favorite to win Class 6A?


Fields: Jenks. We’re ranked third overall. Midwest City is good. The two teams ranked above us are tough, but we should be the top seed from this side of the state. Frontier conference is tough. We beat each other to death playing against Union, Owasso, Sapulpa, Broken Arrow and Muskogee. Keeping in mind the length of the season is so important, what’s required mentally and physically during a long season like ours is an important factor. The ups and downs, staying on an even keel. Stay on the goal. Last year we went on a 16 game winning streak and got our hearts broke by Union. We had to build from that and try to make a run in the playoffs.


VYPE: Is their much of a rivalry in basketball with Union?


Fields: There’s a rivalry with Union in everything from the classroom to the library. There’s a lot of respect between the two schools. Both sides are very professional. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to be at Jenks. Both schools do it the right way. You don’t get to this level over night, so much goes into getting a program to this level. The kids have to buy in. It’s not just basketball or football. It’s bread in them to be the best.


VYPE: Good luck with the rest of the season. Fields: Thank you.


FEBRUARY 2012 | VYPEOK.COM 19


Photo By Rip Stelll


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