Sherri Retif

Episode 63

13 APR 2020

She has been the head coach of the varsity girls basketball team at Germantown Academy for more than 20 years.  Her teams have captured the Inter-Academic Athletic League Championship 19 times, including a streak of 14 consecutive titles and 109 straight Inter-Ac victories. She had previously coached in New Orleans, where her teams captured back-to-back City Championships. She played basketball for the Tulane Green Wave and was inducted into the Tulane University Hall of Fame. In later years she was inducted into the Montgomery County Coaches Hall of Fame. In “Perspective on Youth Sport and Spirituality,” published by Notre Dame Press in 2015, she contributed a chapter on best practices. And, she co-authored a handbook called, “More Than a Game, Stories, Prayers and Reflections for the Student Athlete.”

Guest quotes:

“I grew up as a Catholic.  I went to Catholic schools all the way through twelfth grade and then I coached in a Catholic school for eight years… in New Orleans.  My husband took a job and we moved to Philadelphia and I just kind of thought I was done coaching and lo and behold Christ had another path for me and I was back coaching by the Fall.”

“I walked away from the game not thinking that was my calling.  I thought my calling was being a mom and a parent.”

“I realized my Christian values that I grew up with of honesty and accountability and community, and they just merged with the same values that I brought to the (basketball) court.”

“I learned that God was with us in adversity and God was with us in joy and bliss.”

“Being on a team is an opportunity for our students to have a small faith community, to have a safe place to grow and develop and make mistakes and learn.”

“If you’re focused on only winning or achieving a scholarship or outcome, you’re missing the journey, you’re missing the process.  And I think the invitation is to be aware of… is the experience moving them closer to God or is it moving them away from God?  Is my conversation with my athlete helping them grow closer to God or further away?”

“I think that’s where we all need to be as coaches – meeting our students where their needs are in our athletes.”

“The more we see Christ in others, Christ will grow in ourselves.”

“It doesn’t have to be all about winning on the scoreboard, it’s about winning in life.”

Related links:

Books mentioned:

Youth Sport and Spirituality: Catholic Perspectives

More Than a Game: Stories, Prayers, and Reflections for the Student Athlete