Maxwell Receives Big 12 Coach of the Year Honors
It hasn't been easy, but through it all, she's kept her poise, she's stayed focused and she's led her team to some big-time victories this season.
So, when she heard her name announced as the Big 12 Coach of the Year last weekend at the conference championship in Fort Worth, Texas, she was filled with emotion.
"It was definitely special," said Maxwell with a smile. "It was kind of emotional when I heard my name called for it. This team has worked really hard, and they earned this award for me in how they have handled themselves and how they have worked this year. So, props to them, but also, it's a great thing to have your peers recognize what you're going through and the work you've done. We all work really hard, so this is just an honor."
Looking back at last weekend, the Wildcats opened play at the Big 12 Championship strong as the team defeated No. 2-seed Oklahoma State, 10-8, in the semifinal round. The win surged K-State to the championship meet on Saturday, March 28, and, though K-State battled, it took second place to Baylor after falling, 11-8, to the Lady Bears.
It was after the championship that Maxwell was named the league's 2015 co-Big 12 Coach of the Year, an honor she shared with Baylor head coach Ellen White.
"It's humbling," continued Maxwell. "It's been a really fun 10 years. It's been fun to help this whole format develop, not just here at K-State, but nationally. So to be recognized for that is great. I don't think these things are things you win just based on your statistical record that year, it's an overall work ethic, a sportsmanship kind of thing. That's something we really pride ourselves in and it's something that I've pushed on the athletes, so it's good to be recognized for that. We really appreciate it."
And, back to the baby news, with Maxwell expected to deliver her and her husband, Bailey's, second child any day now - the first, Tatum, was born two years ago - she has spent her days balancing staying healthy and getting the job done with the team.
"I could go any day," Maxwell said as she flashed an excited smile. "We're in the twice-a-week check-ups already!"
So how does she do it?
"I think the coaching keeps me going," she added. "I've been doing everything I can to avoid being put on bed rest because I think I will go crazy if that were to happen. Right now I come out and coach for a half a day then I go home, so I've been prioritizing."
Helping her along the way has been her coaching staff as the team is now preparing for the NCEA Championship set to take place, April 16-18, in Waco, Texas. Assistant coaches Kate Chesley and Anna Becker, along with Wildcat graduate assistant coach Kelly Bovaird, have also stepped up and taken the reins when needed.
However, while the coaching staff has been a big help and is ready to take over if need be, Maxwell still plans on being there with the team as it competes for a national title later this month.
"We aren't going to put a plan in action because then it won't work," Maxwell laughed. "We're just winging it right now. Kate has been handling all our behind-the-scenes stuff, so her job will remain the same. She just covers running from one arena to another making sure everybody is good, then Kelly would fill the full void for me. She plans on helping me out if (I can't be at Nationals), but I'm going to bend over backwards to be there.
"Whether that's very, very pregnant or with a two-day-old child, we plan on being at Nationals. So, hopefully, fingers crossed, we just keep praying that that happens."
Passionate about her team no matter the circumstance, it's no wonder Maxwell was named Big 12 Coach of the Year, and day by day she and her team continue to prepare for the 2015 NCEA Championship no matter the circumstance.
"I think the team is peaking at the right point in the season; they definitely rose to the occasion at Big 12s," explained Maxwell. "I think we're going to be very well prepared for Nationals. We're going to focus on one school at a time. The school we play is our job that day. If they can stay focused in that direction, we will do well."
To read about the Wildcats' upcoming championship, please click here.
K-State's Savannah Smith talks with head coach Casie Maxwell after the Reining competition against New Mexico State at Timbercreek Stables in Manhattan, Kansas on September 25, 2014. (Scott D. Weaver/K-State Athletics)