The Buffalo women’s basketball program was bounced from the 2018 NCAA Tournament over the weekend after a loss to defending national champion South Carolina.
As a No. 11 seed, the Bulls had made an impressive run in the tournament but ultimately fell short.
Following the game, when speaking to the media, however, Buffalo head coach Felisha Legette-Jack took one final opportunity to make her impact on March Madness felt.
Legette-Jack delivered a powerful message on diversity and what it is like to be a woman of color in a leadership position.
Check out the full comments below, as transcribed by USA TODAY Sports:
Buffalo coach Felisha Legette-Jack gave a powerful response when asked about diversity and leadership opportunities for women of color in basketball. pic.twitter.com/nkfYrWsiIe
— espnW (@espnW) March 25, 2018
Q. Just to what we were speaking about earlier, because, like you said, there aren’t just these huge dividing lines between majors and mid-majors any more and there are more opportunities for success, do you see an opportunity for women of color to get more leadership opportunities, and do you view this as a way to help bring to light the fact that there aren’t enough women of color getting the leadership positions?
COACH FELISHA LEGETTE-JACK: Wow. I have some really amazing colleagues that look like me. I have so many friends that had an opportunity and they lose their opportunities and never be coming back up at all.
It took an African American woman to notice me when I lost my job at Indiana. Had she not noticed me, Danny White would have never known about me; and because she spoke to him and I was able to present myself to him, I was able to get this opportunity to bring this — from where it was to where it is now. I hope my colleagues don’t get frustrated and never comeback. There’s a Gillette laws on this staff from South Carolina and we used to go up against each other when she was at Illinois; a Cincinnati coach who played at a high school gym and at the end was asked to leave.
I’m saddened by it. I understand the problem. I know that the majority of women basketball players look like me. I think that these young women, if we really care about them as people, that they will have role models that look like them. Because they are going to play four years for whomever, and then they get an opportunity to go in this world, and they are not going to find anybody that looked like them, and they are going to have to figure out how to navigate at a different level.
I hope that if these coaches that see me who resurged themselves or herself into another opportunity and try to make the most of it, I hope they get encouraged and understand: The fight isn’t going to easy. It’s necessary. It’s necessary not just for you and your sadness and you and your fire and you and your woe-is-me.
The fight is for the next young lady that needs a person who looks like her to rise above and to be coached up and create a foundation so that she can become the coo, the CFO of something very big. It’s important that they stay in the race and keep fighting. We see them. You’re out there. Keep fighting. Go forward. Thank you for that question.