Women’s Basketball Coach and Alumna Discusses Her Love of Westminster

Head Women’s Basketball Coach Talisha Washington, ’13, is counting down the days until the Blue Jays’ first game on Nov. 8 at Westminster against Illinois College.

A Fulton, MO, native, Washington originally planned to leave her hometown and enrolled at Missouri Southern State in Joplin, MO. The softball and basketball aficionado later transferred to Westminster to play both sports. Washington subsequently earned a bachelor’s degree in sports management from Westminster and later received a master’s degree in athletic administration from William Woods University in 2016.

Westminster caught up with Washington between practices this week to learn how her new position as head coach is going and to find out how transferring to Westminster almost a decade ago has made an impact on her life.

How do you feel about your recent appointment as head women’s basketball coach at Westminster?

I feel honored and blessed. If you would have asked me six years ago, I would have never thought that I would be back at Westminster coaching for a program that I truly care so deeply about.

What are you looking forward to this year as coach? What are your goals?

I’m looking forward to helping students in the Westminster community find their purpose. As an undergrad at Westminster, former and current professors helped me find my purpose outside of athletics. That is something that I aim to give back to students.

Do you think it will be an easy year?

I don’t know if anything would ever truly be easy — life is not easy, lol. But I will say that having the mindset to face challenges is something that Westminster has prepared me for. If you don’t face the challenges, you can’t grow. That’s why to me accepting challenges will be easy. Will it be easy road? Probably not.

Can you explain how you made the decision to transfer to Westminster?

I chose Westminster College for the hands-on learning experience, the small class sizes it provides and the opportunity it gave me to be successful a dual-sport athlete

What organizations outside of work are you involved in?

I’m currently the vice president for a non-profit organization known as SERVE INC. Our mission is to work together to serve others to help make a difference in the Community and in lives of others.

What is your favorite Westminster memory?

 My favorite Westminster memory is hosting the SLIAC Conference Women’s Basketball Tournament in back-to-back years, in 2012 and 2013. The atmosphere was electrifying! The participation from the student body and the community was truly a memory that I will never forget. Being back-to-back champions is written in Westminster Women’s Basketball History. I’m so incredibly grateful to be a part that.

Favorite spot on campus?

 The outside front steps of the Historic Gym. It’s smack-dab in the middle of campus, and you can truly see the beauty of what Westminster has to offer.

Can you tell a little bit about your family?

My family is my foundation. My parents, Bob and Ella Washington, have been a part of the Fulton community for over 40 years. They are my biggest supporters and have always been in my corner. I have three siblings: Jeremy (Lakiesha), Isaiah (Michelle) and Rachel. They’ve also supported me and my goals. My biggest fan — I’m also her biggest fan — is my daughter Mckenzi Washington (11). She’s a huge fan of Westminster Athletics and has been since she was three years old.

I also have some of the best nieces and nephews in the world. They can turn a bad day into a great day! Lastly, I have to mention two very special friends, Ashley and Roman, who have deeply impacted my life.

A book you would recommend to others?

LEAD . . . for God’s Sake! by Todd Gongwer. This book will make you think deeply about who you are as a leader, what success means to you and why you do what you do. It’s a very rich book that I would recommend to anyone.

Favorite TV show?

I have too many favorite TV shows. I can’t just pick one: Empire, Grey’s Anatomy, The Enemy Within, ESPN’s 30 for 30

What do you do in your free time?

Spend as much time as I can with family and friends.




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Sarah Rummel Backer

Sarah Rummel Backer is the Director of Media Relations and Senior Writer at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. A proud Westminster graduate, Sarah has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and strategic communications in the areas of higher education, medicine, agriculture, and the private business sector.