From Player to Coach with the Turn of a Tassel

By Candi Veer

Sometimes, it’s important to act on your dreams right away.

For Molly Greenfield, her dreams materialized shortly after she turned the tassel on her graduation cap.

As the tallest player on her high school basketball team at 5-foot 8-inches, Greenfield enjoyed an illustrious high school career, then started at Crown College in 2017 as a transfer student.

After graduating from Crown in December of 2017 with a degree in Sport Management and a minor in Psychology, she landed a job as the women’s basketball coach at Ellsworth Community College in Iowa Falls, Iowa in August of 2018.

How she ended up there so quickly required perseverance — and a strong faith.

How it all started

Greenfield graduated from high school in 2013. Then, as a freshman at Ellsworth, she would shoot 500 three-pointers every day to practice. By the end of her sophomore year, she held the record for most three-pointers in a season with 82.

“I wanted to be successful so I knew I had to put in the extra work and I focused on my shooting and perfecting my shot,” says Greenfield, “I turned my love and hobby into a lifestyle. If it wasn’t for the work that I put in at an early age I do not think I would be as dedicated and proud as I am now.”

Greenfield always wanted to be a coach, and her dream was further motivated by her desire to encourage other girls on her team as a player to never give up on their dreams. She wanted to be a role model for others to show them that pursuing one’s dream takes a lot of hard work and determination, but it is worth it in the end. Role models and motivators were a large part of Greenfield’s success as a player and she believed she could accomplish this through coaching.

“My dad was my coach growing up, and I have always looked up to him and all the hard work he has put in over years to help my teammates and me become successful,” she says. “Basketball is something that makes me happy, and I have a lot of experience and knowledge of the game. I was looking to use those skills in a profession, and I was blessed to receive the offer. That’s a dream come true in itself.”

At Ellsworth, where she attended from August 2013 to May 2015, she earned an associate’s degree in Elementary Education. In 2015, she transferred to Waldorf University. In May of 2016, after a year of hard transitions, she decided to transfer from Waldorf to Crown College in St. Bonifacius, Minn. as a senior.

Growing and Serving

Although Greenfield was a transfer student to Crown, she immediately felt at home and accepted by the other students, although as an incoming senior it wasn’t always easy.

Along with playing basketball for Crown College, Molly served as a football manager, helped with the Special Olympics, and assisted with the charity Feed My Starving Children.

“I received many opportunities to be involved in activities on campus that I may not have received at other schools,” says Greenfield.

During her time at Crown, Greenfield was a part of a community that supported her pursuit of personal and spiritual growth. Because she had transferred to a Christian college, she added a semester of Bible classes.

“I grew up at Crown and found the person that I wanted to be,” she says. “I learned how to grow deeper in my spiritual life. I was put in several positions that tested my spirituality. Having that stronger relationship with God and the support around campus, I was able to overcome many challenges. It was a great decision to attend Crown College.”

Teammates openly shared their testimonies at team meetings and prayed together. Everyone on her team was able to encourage and build each other up emotionally and spiritually. As a result, the team was brought closer together.

Scoring Big

Upon graduating from Crown College in December of 2017, Greenfield landed her dream job as a basketball coach and returned to Ellsworth. She was thrilled to see her hard work pay off after dedicating herself to basketball throughout her college career.

When a coaching position opened up in Ellsworth, one of her contacts there told her about the job. Greenfield immediately applied for the position. The college selected her she says because of her love for Ellsworth College and the surrounding community.

“Being the Head Women’s Basketball Coach at Ellsworth Community College is a dream come true, and it is still hard to believe that I have the job,” she says. “However, understanding that God put me in this position for a reason makes me excited every single day.”

Transitioning to The Role of Coach

In her new role as a coach, Greenfield is very close in age to her players–which allows her to easily relate and connect with them and the struggles they face.

Greenfield knows what it is like to struggle to fit in. She’s been through times of uncertainty and emotional pain. She’s been caught up in the wrong crowd.

When girls come to her with their struggles, she can help them and let them know that they are not alone.

Greenfield sees her role as coach as something much more than training girls to be skilled basketball players. She also strives to be the type of coach who teaches her team to never give up on their goals in life.

“I have been able to share my own personal experiences in helping them get through it,” she says. “I want the girls to be very successful while they are at Ellsworth and as they continue their journey through life. I am here for them in any way that I can be in pushing them to become successful on and off the court.”

As a coach, Molly strongly believes in her players and their abilities. This fall, Greenfield experienced a surreal moment while watching her players on the same court at Ellsworth where Crown visited to play games when she was a student.

“My old classmates who I used to sit next to in class were in the crowd watching me coach,” she says. “This opportunity does not happen very often to many people. God has blessed me in many ways, and this game will be a reminder and a reward for never giving up on my dreams.”

College Through a Transfer Student’s Eyes

Greenfield knows what it’s like to live through adversity. One challenging aspect of being a transfer student was transitioning into a brand new team and learning the ropes.

It was tough at times to adjust to the new coaching style and understand what was expected of her. However, the coaches were understanding and helped her adapt to her new teammates and the new style of play.

Having been able to reach her goals as the result of the coaches and faculty in her life, Greenfield is grateful for the opportunities she gained from her time at college and wants to be there for her girls in the same way.

“My greatest memories are from college,” she says. “I experienced different things at every college I attended. Attending college has been the best decision I have ever made in my life. You will learn to grow as an individual, friend, teammate, classmate, and grow mentally and spiritually as well.”

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