Local basketball star feels blessed to play for her dad

Updated: Jun. 20, 2021 at 11:16 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WACO, Texas (KWTX) - The timing worked out perfectly for the Willis family - Marcus Willis Sr. was hired as the girls basketball coach right when his daughter, MiMi, was entering her freshman year at the school.

Marcus has coached his daughter since she was in the second grade.

The two have always been close, but they admit, having your dad as your coach can be complicated.

MiMi tells me, “It’s hard, but it’s fun. I love it. He stays on me. He wants me to be the best me I can be.”

Coach Willis has always held MiMi to a higher standard, so she doesn’t get away with anything.

MiMi laughs, “Having a dad as a coach, he sees everything. In the car home, it’s all about what we did in the game, so it’s pretty hard.”

Marcus admits, “I know I am harder on her... you have to be to coach your own kids. You have to hold your kids accountable.”

Marcus and MiMi know that other parents can be skeptical of the coach’s kid, so MiMi works extra hard to prove she belongs.

Her father explains, “Now, it has come to me. Like, ‘Dad let’s go to the gym and get shots up.’ I like that energy from her because that lets me know she wants to get better and she wants to get to the next level.”

MiMi adds, “I don’t want to feel like I am getting playing time just because I am the coach’s daughter. I have to earn my spot just like everybody else.”

The two have a great player-coach relationship, but they both know that once the basketball is put away, that dynamic changes, so they have never had an issue switching back to father-daughter.

“I am Coach in basketball, but I am Dad in everything else,” says Willis.

MiMi adds, “We have a strong bond. Not just on the court, but also at home.”

Marcus says it takes a unique person to coach your own kid, especially at the Varsity level.

He says it’s key to know when to turn off “Coach Mode”, but more importantly, he knows that “Dad Mode” always stays on.

Willis tells me, “You never stop being a dad, Chris, just being real. You have to have a special type of gift to be able to do both.”

Coach Willis has had the opportunity to coach each of his five kids. He says sports have helped bring his family together, and he is grateful for the opportunities he has had.

“It’s not just MiMi, I love all my kids, my family, my wife. It is a true blessing to be able to coach, but also be a dad. I wouldn’t want it any other way.”

Copyright 2021 KWTX. All rights reserved.