Jennie Baranczyk is the head women’s basketball coach at Drake University. She was named 2017-18 Missouri Valley Conference Coach of the Year after leading the team to its second straight MVC Title and a 42 game winning streak in MVC regular season/tournament games.
I grew up in Des Moines and was able to move back with my family about 6 years ago to coach Women’s Basketball at Drake University (my DREAM job)! My husband is from Green Bay, Wisconsin, and a diehard Packers fan. We have one son, Eli (6) and two daughters, Jordi (4) and Hope (almost 1). We are pretty much constantly on the go, and most the time we are late (my fault). I would like my kids to get along a little better… but we make it with a lot of love and a lot of messes! Our kids are also fortunate to grow up around a set of grandparents and a lot of cousins – which does not happen in my profession!
I love my job and I love my kids – the biggest challenge AND joy is that most of the time I really want to be in more than one place. I honestly consider that lucky. There is no greater love than love for people – I LOVE my kids and husband (they will always be priority #1) AND I LOVE the people I work with and the student-athletes I get to coach.
How/when did you start coaching? What was your inspiration?
This is kind of a loaded question. Technically I started coaching after college at Kansas State University. But, unofficially, I probably did a little too much ‘coaching’ while I was playing – from the YMCA league to the Big Ten.
I was lucky enough to have my dad coach me when I was younger. He really instilled a passion inside of me to love what I am doing, work as hard as I can, and have fun doing it. I’ve also had great coaches from high school to college and so many others who I’ve worked with who continue to inspire me.
What’s the best part about coaching at Drake?
Drake University – I get to coach at a place that cares about what we do, how we do it, and where we are going. Drake is a really special place where I believe we can achieve at a very high level and the women who graduate from our program are going to be ready for anything. Drake is a community that is extremely heart-centered, inclusive and strong… just like Des Moines. I’m really proud of that!
What’s the hardest part about coaching at the collegiate level?
The time demands – there are times my job can be really flexible and other times it is the complete opposite. There is also never an ‘off-season’ – it is truly a year-round job.
What advice do you have for moms?
I feel that as a mom we need to always have an open mind and give ourselves a lot of grace. I was the ‘perfect’ parent before I actually became one. There will always be opinions about how we ‘should’ be and what our kids ‘should or shouldn’t’ be or have or eat or whatever… honestly, we just need to do the best we can in the moment.
Some of the best advice I ever received as a mom in my profession… ‘take your kids with you, they will adjust’. Trust me, it is not always pretty, but my hope is that they will become resilient, flexible and know they are loved.
What is something you wish you had known when you started?
You can never win a championship with Plan A. The leaders who are the most flexible and adaptable will be the most successful.
AND… learning how to really focus on yourself. I have found that our team and staff (and probably family too) are much better when I am in a good space.
What’s the last show you watched, thing you listened to, or book you read?
We mostly watch shows like Moana or Princess Elena around here. And sports… a lot of sports.
I also listen to podcasts and read a lot of articles that are sent to me.
If your life had a hashtag, what would it be?
Des Moines Favorites:
Favorite spot for a date night: Who has time for dating?! 😉 We do frequent Jethro’s or HyVee
Best place to take kids: Grandma’s and Grandpa’s house AND/OR Adventureland
Favorite summer activity: Bulldog Girls Basketball Camps
If you could live anywhere, where would it be? I honestly really LOVE Des Moines; although Hawaii sounds nice some days
Favorite instagram accounts? Our players or @drakewbb
How/where do you relax? When I am in the car driving to and from work alone. And I try to be intentional about connecting with a few people who help me stay in alignment.
Check out other Des Moines Moms Movers & Shakers:
See our Des Moines Moms Movers & Shakers series from last summer.
Know a Des Moines mom we should feature? Let us know! Email [email protected] with details and we will be in touch.