Waubonsee Community College head women’s basketball coach Dana Wagner celebrated her 200th victory recently. She is a 1992 Kaneland graduate that went on to play at Aurora University. Courtesy/File Photo
Kaneland alum’s milestone victory paves way for memorable year
SUGAR GROVE—To illustrate how Waubonsee Community College women’s basketball coach Dana Wagner approached a milestone 200th coaching victory, which occurred on Dec. 8, it was almost an afterthought.
“(Sports information specialist) Steve Moga told me before the season that I was going to get it, and I forgot about it for awhile,” Wagner said. “It was a road victory and the girls and team moms got together and signed a frame picture they took. It was a nice surprise.”
The 73-68 win over the St. Ambrose University varsity team is one of many highlights so far for the 9-5 Lady Chiefs, featuring former Kaneland standouts Sarah Grams and Brooke Harner.
“These girls work hard and buy into the system, and it pays off,” Wagner said. “It’s been a good year for the transition game, and the way we run the floor has been great.”
In her 15th year, Wagner will step down at the conclusion of the 2013-14 season, as Waubonsee has enacted a rule that coaching positions will be for non-full-time staff members.
“It’s bittersweet, which is why it’s nice to have this good year. We’ll move onto the next phase, and I’m excited for the future,” Wagner said. “I’m excited to go on a different path.”
Wagner works as Waubonsee’s Assistant Athletic Manager, runs Waubonsee’s intramural programs, handles all of the school’s on-campus athletic events and is facilities coordinator for the hoops squad’s home, Erickson Hall.
With Erickson Hall undergoing renovation to hold a 59,000-square-foot fieldhouse, Wagner’s duties involve that heavy undertaking that benefits Waubonsee athletics in the long run.
“It’s great for recruiting when you walk these kids through the facility. It’s going to be unbelievable, that building will be my ‘real job’ and take up a lot of time after this year,” Wagner said.
Not only involved in area basketball, since her days as a player at Kaneland, Wagner has worked with many standouts that have seen her evolve as player and coach.
“When I got this job, the first person I coached was Dick Rink (former KHS girls basketball head and assistant coach). I asked him to be my assistant coach after that, and I think we tried adding the number of games he and I had been involved with. It was too many,” Wagner said.
A member of Kaneland’s Class of 1992, Wagner was an All-Little Seven Conference selection in basketball. She then went on to star for Aurora University as a three-time NCAA Division III All-American, was selected the Northern Illinois Intercollegiate Conference (NIIC) Player of the Year three times, and was named Aurora’s Female Athlete of the Year three times. Wagner remains the Spartans’ all-time leading scorer with 1,693.
With 200 victories, and more looked for as Waubonsee makes its way through Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference action and beyond, Wagner can not only look over a memorable moment, but a memorable coaching tenure. The accomplished coach will just be in the market of bettering WCC rather than just a girls’ roster.
“You have girls that come in here and want to play and don’t want to spend a lot of money, be closer to home, and get their gen-eds done,” Wagner said. “A lot of area girls basketball teams are getting better and starting younger. The hard work pays off. I’m moving on, and looking at the positive.”