Monday, December 5 2022

The Indiana native brings extensive athletic and administrative experience to her new role with OSAA.

As a former Louisiana Tech women’s varsity basketball powerhouse captain who played four seasons in the WNBA, Monica Maxwell found plenty of ways to impact a game.

“Garbage buckets, offensive rebounds and interceptions,” Maxwell said. “I was one of those players who did a lot of dirty work. I was diving on the floor for a ball that I knew I couldn’t get just to fire up the crowd.”

Now Maxwell, two decades from her playing days, thinks she has the tools to make a different impact as OSAA’s new assistant general manager. The intangibles she brings as a former athlete and athletic director, and her experience in state-level leadership and committee roles in Indiana, give her a very broad perspective.

“I think my aim is wide because of that,” Maxwell said. “I’m excited about what I bring. I’m also excited to learn, because there’s a lot of things I don’t know. There’s a lot of things you do in Oregon that we don’t. in Indiana. So it’s an opportunity for me to learn and also share some of my own experiences.”

Born and raised in Hammond, Ind., Maxwell graduated from East Chicago Central High School in 1995. As a senior, she was ranked the No. 2 shooting guard in the nation for a one-team squad. which earned a national No. 1. ranking.

She had a stellar college career at Louisiana Tech, where she played on two Final Four teams, including the national runner-up in her junior season. Undrafted by the WNBA, she played one season for the Washington Mystics before being selected by the Indiana Fever in an expansion draft, returning her to her home state. In the 2000 season, she finished second in the league in three-pointers with 62.

“Going to Indiana was the best thing that could have happened to my career,” said Maxwell, who was inducted into the Indiana Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame last year. “It felt like home. It was the first time since high school that my friends and family had the chance to see me play again. And I think the organization did a really good job of connecting us to the community. We’ve done a lot of things.”

After three seasons with the Fever, Maxwell helped the Pike High School girls’ basketball team in Indianapolis for three seasons. She became a college coach, spending a season helping out at Tulane and Cal State Northridge, before becoming athletic director at her old high school in 2007.

Between stints as athletic director of East Chicago Central (2007-10, 2017-21), she notably worked at the NCAA office in Indianapolis as a representative for Advocates for Athletic Equity, formerly known as name of Black Coaches Association. .

She spent 2021-22 as athletic director at Arsenal Tech High School in Indianapolis. During her time involved in Indiana high school athletics, she served on the state association board of directors and served as vice president of the state athletic directors association.

In the meantime, she reassessed her career path.

“About four or five years ago, I set career goals to get out of school, and I wanted to get into a state association office,” said Maxwell, who holds a bachelor’s degree in business systems. computer information and two master’s degrees. “I started preparing for it. I was just waiting my turn for the right position to become available.”

She learned about the vacancy at OSAA through a friend in Florida and decided to apply despite her unfamiliarity with Oregon. OSAA announced his hiring in June.

“I’m really excited,” Maxwell said. “I’ve been in work environments that weren’t as comfortable as this one. I think the people in this office really know their stuff and they really love each other. I think it’s a good team.

“That’s what I was looking for. It’s a good professional atmosphere here. I think that’s probably what drew me to Oregon. … It’s just kind of like home.”

She will oversee soccer, basketball, softball and band/orchestra for OSAA. With the fall season fast approaching, she said she was “trying to get me to understand football”.

Maxwell came to Oregon alone and settled near Mountainside High School in Beaverton. She explores her new home on a bicycle.

“I love riding my bike,” she said. “I lived in downtown Indianapolis so I parked my car and wouldn’t go back until I had to. So I would get on my bike and go everywhere. The hills here are just ruthless. You better be in good shape if you’re going to ride a bike or walk up a hill.”

Jerry Ulmer is a writer for OSAA Today

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