CHOUTEAU, OK —
A few years back in Chouteau, Ladycat basketball ruled the school.
Head Coach Jeff Oliver was able to put together quite a few good teams, including back-to-back seasons where the Chouteau Ladycats were just one win from state (something no Chouteau girls team has ever done). At one time, the Ladycats landed three players on the All-State team, three consecutive seasons. The last one, which was in 2007, was Kristen Dixon - a 5’5” point guard who had excellent ball handling skills and was a student of the game.
The former Ladycat standout went on to play two years of college ball at Connors State College in Warner, but then transferred to Oklahoma Wesleyan University in Bartlesville, playing for Head Coach Britney Kannady-Sayes. In 2012, Kristen graduated with a bachelor of science degree in health and physical education.
“At OWU, Kristen was the heart of our team,” said Kannady. “She was the leader on and off the court, and there was not another player that was going to work harder than her. Kristen was the type of player that coaches look to recruit because their leadership and work ethic alone will make your team better. Our team relied on Kristen's scoring ability and passing skills, while at the same time she ended up guarding the other team's best player...in other words, she was our work horse.”
There’s a saying around Chouteau, “once a Ladycat, always a Ladycat.” That statement has never rang more true for Dixon than it does now. The one-time Chouteau Ladycat is making a new start in her basketball career, as an assistant coach of the Lady Sabercats of Southmoore High School in Moore. Southmoore is currently ranked No.4 in Class 6A girls basketball under first year Head Coach Britney Kannady-Sayes — the same coach who had coached Dixon in college just the year before.
“The decision to bring Kristen to my staff at Southmoore was easy,” Kannady said. “I guess I can say that I feel like I have already coached with her for two years because at OWU, she was my coach on the floor."
For Dixon, it was an answered prayer.
“It was really exciting,” Dixon said about the day coach Kannady called and asked her to join her at Southmoore. “I had been praying all summer that God would open up the right door for me, and it just didn't seem like anything was really working out. So when she called and asked me to join it was a relief and I knew it was the exact door I had been waiting for. I’m so glad God knows what he's doing, because I absolutely love my job.”
As a player, having Dixon on the floor was indeed like having a coach out on the court at all times. She had the skill and mind set to be the leader of the team and to be in control during the game, something that she is finding out is different as a coach.
“It’s definitely different. You get to see a totally different side of the game that you never see as a player,” Dixon said. “The hardest part for me is sitting on the sidelines during the game and really having no control of the outcome. As a player, when you’re on the floor in a close game you somewhat have control of what happens, but as a coach, especially an assistant, you kind of just have to put your faith in your players and hope they do the right things.”
Dixon would eventually like to coach, but she isn’t necessarily ready to jump in those shoes just yet.
“I’m really just enjoying sitting back and learning things on this side of the game,” said Dixon. “There’s so much to learn from this aspect, and I want to learn everything I possibly can before jumping into a head coaching position.”
Coach Kannady knows that one of these days, Kristen will leave her bench and become a head coach somewhere, although she isn’t ready for that day, either.
“She hasn't let me down so far at Southmoore, and I don't ever look for that to happen until she decides she is ready to become a head coach herself,” Kannady said. “I don't want that to happen…but I know that it will happen at some point and I know she will do great things.”