DURHAM, N.C.— GoDuke.com recently sat down with former Duke women's basketball student-athlete Krista Gingrich, who played for the Blue Devils from 1999-2002, to see what she is doing these days, get her thoughts on Duke women's basketball and to reflect on her time in Durham.
Gingrich is one of Duke’s top all-time three-point shooters as she hit 46.5 percent from downtown over her four-year career, which ranks fourth all-time. She was a member of the 1999 and 2002 NCAA Final Four squads, while earning 1999 ACC All-Freshman Team accolades. In 2002, Gingrich helped guide the Blue Devils to the ACC Championship and earned All-ACC Tournament Team honors.
GoDuke.com: Do you have a spouse and children? Krista Gingrich: Not yet...but it’s looking good so far. GD: What do you like best about your career? KG: It was amazing to start and end my career with trips to the Final Four. It’s always special to be part of “a first” in your career, as it was in 1999. Then in 2002, our run was an unbelievable accomplishment considering we had only eight players on the roster. GD: What was it like to advance to the NCAA Final Four for those who have never had the opportunity? KG: Participating in the 1999 and 2002 Final Four was the most amazing experience a player could have. I’m sure many of you while practicing have visualized yourself stepping onto the court for a National Championship and maybe even throwing up a game winner at the buzzer. However, the visualization doesn’t even come close to compare to the emotions you experience when actually doing it. At that point I knew that the sacrifices I made over the years were most definitely worth it! GD: Do you come across many Duke fans? KG: Absolutely! I even see an occasional Cameron Crazie in the stands at Durham Academy where I’m the head coach.
GD: How long have you been the head basketball coach at Durham Academy? KG: I coached the JV team in 2007-08, and then took over as the varsity coach in 2008-09. We’ve reached the NCISAA quarter-finals each of the last two years, and are expecting another great season this year. I’ve also coached the Duke Club Women’s Basketball team for the past three years.
GD: Did you always know you wanted to be a coach one day? KG: Absolutely. I always considered myself somewhat of a coach on the floor as a point guard. I also wanted to give back to the youth of our community and to the game.
GD: How many drills from your Duke playing days have you worked in to your coaching at Durham Academy? KG: This is very good question. I’ve pretty much turned into Coach G! (Scary, I know, right Coach G?) My practices, plays, defenses, drills, scouting reports, and even tendencies on the sideline and in huddles come from her! Some people who come to see my team play are shocked when they hear the same calls from the sideline that they heard 10 years ago in Cameron.
GD: Do you still play basketball recreationally? KG: Yes. Unfortunately I ruptured my achilles tendon last year (after shooting a three-pointer, of course!). A few weeks ago was the first time I played in an actual game (and still shooting three-pointers, of course!). GD: What are some of your favorite off-the-court memories of Duke? KG: Obviously teammates spend a lot of time together in the gym in preparation for competition. However, what was very unique about all of my teammates was that we truly enjoyed each other’s company both on and off the court. I can definitely say that we abided by former Duke President Nan Keohane’s motto of “Work Hard, Play Hard.” Some of my favorite memories involve get-togethers on Central Campus and Myrtle of course!
GD: What was your major? KG: Cultural Anthropology while completing all pre-med requirements.
GD: What made you choose to come to Duke? KG: Duke has the perfect balance of excellence in academics and athletics. I knew if I were to suffer a career-ending injury the first day I stepped foot on campus, I was still going to be set for life with a Duke education. Duke also provided a family atmosphere which caused me to feel very comfortable with the transition from high school to college.
GD: Where did you live when you were at Duke? KG: Freshman year I lived in Blackwell dorm on East campus with Dorrette (Burwell) Ibazebo (volleyball player). We then moved to Central Campus on Yearby for sophomore and junior years. And finally I moved off campus and lived in West Village with my teammate Sheana Mosch for my senior year.
GD: How much has women’s basketball changed since you played? KG: It’s not been that long since I was stepping inside the lines in Cameron, but I do feel that the women’s game is constantly evolving as it becomes faster and more physical. However, I want young players to know out there that fundamental skills are still very important in order to be successful on the court!
GD: How has Duke changed since you were in school? KG: There are new buildings popping up all over campus. Probably the biggest changes include the addition of the Bostock Library on the quad, the new and improved Brian Center Walkway, and the Keohane Quad….all are amazing!
GD: What are your impressions of the program today and this year’s team? KG: Obviously we have a very talented group of young ladies returning, as well as a highly touted recruiting class. It will be exciting to see how everyone meshes together over the next nine months in preparation to bring home an NCAA title. Jasmine Thomas is a fabulous floor general and one of my favorite players (point guards have to support one another!). But I also have to mention how much I enjoy Krystal’s excellence both on and off the court. As a mentor in the CAPE Program (Collegiate Athlete Premedical Experience), I view Krystal as a tremendous representation of what Duke Basketball is all about because of her care and compassion for brain tumor patients.
GD: How great is the CAPE program that Duke has provided for female students? KG: CAPE is an unbelievable program that offers female student-athletes wanting to go into medicine opportunities to come into contact with patients from various medical disciplines as an undergrad. Duke is the only school in the country to implement such a program. It also focuses on developing leaders in the field as well as confidence going into the next phase of life after they are done competing. It is a perfect example of the great balance of athletics and academics at this institution.
GD: How exciting has it been to watch Duke grow into one of the top programs in the country? KG: I am definitely a proud alumnus as the current players continue the standard of excellence of Duke Basketball. GD: How often do you watch Duke basketball games? When was the last time you were able to see a game in Cameron? KG: I try to see as many games as possible that don’t conflict with my high school basketball schedule. Of course, I make it a point to be part of the crowd cheering against UNC!
GD: Have you had a chance to come back and see the new practice facility? If so how nice would it have been to have that when you were playing at Duke? KG: The new facilities are amazing. And those who remember the good old days of Card gym and no air conditioning in Cameron know that we’ve come a LONG way!
GD: What kind of impact has a Duke degree had on your life? KG: My Duke education has taken me very far already in life, and also has kept me closely connected in the Duke community professionally. After undergrad, I decided to stay at Duke and get my Masters Degree, and now work at Duke Medical Center as a Physician Assistant. A Duke degree stands for itself and is never questioned.
GD: Do you keep in touch with your former teammates? KG: Absolutely! We always find any excuse to have a reunion, but I also am fortunate to have many teammates still living in the Durham area. I get to see Georgia (Schweitzer) Beasley often as she also works at the Duke Medical Center as a general surgery resident.