June 26, 2009
Julie Bennett, Lady Bear basketball's media relations director, recently caught up with former Lady Bear players Jessika Stratton Caldwell.
Interview with Jessica Stratton Caldwell (2000-04)
Reflect on your four years at Baylor:
"I think my four years at Baylor were the most special memories that I have as a basketball player. One of my favorite memories was my freshman year when were all gathered in the SLC and we were watching the live telecast and we were being filmed by ESPN and it was the first time that we made it to the NCAA Tournament in school history. I don't think that I could recreate that emotion because it was very special. I remember where everyone was sitting and I have a picture that somebody took of us jumping up and down and capturing that pure joy. That was the beginning and it's neat to see that it continues, and the excitement is still there. Making the NCAA tournament is not a given, but every time they do, you still see that joy and excitement."
What's special about Baylor?
"I think that there is something here that you cannot find at other colleges or universities, and it's the spirit that people have. They're excited about activities on campus, they're excitement about athletics, and there is excitement about small groups. There is a spirit here that cannot be matched. I have been a lot of places and I think this is truly special in a sense that when people leave here it doesn't matter where they go or where they have been, they are still part of the Baylor family forever."
What was your favorite class at Baylor?
"I really loved my sports psychology class during my senior year. I was in the class with Jeremy Wariner and Darrold Williamson so we had an awesome group of athletes in the class. Being able to hear stories and talk about our different experiences on the mental side of the game."
Why do you come back and work camp?
"This is my first time back for an extended period of time and I think that coming back to do a camp is really special because I was given so much when I was here and this is just a piece of what I can give back. I like being able to continue to generate excitement about Lady Bear basketball and show my face in that way."
What path have you taken since graduation?
"Since graduation, I lived in Prague, Czech Republic for eleven and a half months, and it was probably one of the most challenging, exciting and maturing times of my life. I loved it over there, because I played basketball for Sparta and worked as an intern for Athletes in Action. After that, I was able to interview and get a head coaching job at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. I spent four years there and loved being able to coach and pour back into the players there. I am excited about what the future holds and take a step back and try some new things while I'm young. I got married and am enjoying married life and being a twenty-something. I want to take each day as it comes and really hear from the Lord."
What are your future career plans?
"At this point, I can't really say, I think the future is definitely in the Lord's hands and he's revealing it to me piece by piece. I know the things that I am really passionate about are the Lord number one, my family, and sharing my love of basketball and the things that I have been taught to young people. I like doing private lessons, small groups and mini clinics. I would love to keep pouring into collegiate athletes, possibly as a mentor, but I am not sure right now. Also, I would like to start a family."
What do you think of all the changes in the campus and the athletic facilities?
"I got here early before camp started and took a nice drive around Baylor. It's kind of quiet right now because of summer and I am amazed and in awe. It is gorgeous, and it really takes my breath away when I come back here and to see how it's changed and grown but stayed the same all together. When I walk into the athletic facilities, there are no words. I think it is absolutely incredible and I would have given anything to be in this position now, but I am extremely grateful for what we had."
Do you view Coach Mulkey as a mentor, and if you do, how so?
"Absolutely, I e-mailed her quite a bit over the course of the season. In years past, I liked to seek her advice and her wisdom and I think she's a great resource. She is so wise and has a lot of wonderful experiences and knowledge to share. I think it is important as a young coach to be able to seek that out."
How do you keep up with Lady Bear basketball?
"I am on that website all the time and I have it as a favorite on my computer and on my phone. I check out Baylorbears.com quite a bit. I just got into Facebook, and I am progressing slowly. We watched the Bears on TV a lot and we would try to get out of our house to go and show our support outside of the home and things got pretty loud and crazy when the Bears were on TV."