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Get Directions to Northeast Kansas Lady DeucesColumbia Local Weather
Northeast Kansas Lady Deuces
Keener Tippin
4018 Curt Drive
Columbia, Missouri
  Lady Deuces Info  


"Sports can do so much. They've given me a framework: Meeting new people,
confidence, self-esteem, discipline, motivations. All these things I've learned,
whether I knew I was learning them or not, through sports."
— Mia Hamm
Member, U.S. Women's Soccer Team

Dear Parent or Guardian:

I apologize for the length of this letter. As you will soon find out, I like to be in constant communication with my players and their parents so there is NO confusion. One of my golden rules for my teams is that COMMUNICATION ELIMINATES CONFUSION. Having said that, I often try to put everything but the kitchen sink into my letters so that there are no questions left unanswered.

Allow me to introduce myself — my name is Keener Tippin and I thank you for your interest in the Northeast Kansas Lady Deuces basketball program, which consists of 5th/6th, 7th/8th and 9th/10th grade girls basketball teams co-coached by myself, my wife Sheila, Clyde Howard and Dereck Thomas. The goal of Lady Deuces basketball is to not only field a competitive team, but to also provide an opportunity for young girls to develop and improve their skills against high caliber competition, receive maximum court time and prepare them to play at the next level. Personal skill development, unselfish play, and having a fun and positive experience are priorities of this team. In addition to developing and improving players' basketball skills, it is our vision to use basketball to teach life lessons and develop self-esteem, character, teamwork and sportsmanship.

The Lady Deuces offer no tryouts. Any female in the age groups of our teams is welcome to play REGARDLESS OF PLAYING ABILITY — and is guaranteed practice time and participation; skills improvement; quality competition; and maximum court time.

I have coached girls basketball for parks and recreation the past several years and am usually disappointed when the season is over. During the spring of 2000, I was asked by several parents of the parks and recreation team I coached about summer basketball opportunities for their daughters. Not knowing of any first hand, my wife and I decided to form our own traveling team. Thus the Lady Deuces were formed.

I have lived in this area off and on since 1991. I most recently moved back in 1997 after working for two years as a counselor in the public school system in Columbia, MO. Currently I am the research news and features coordinator in the media relations office at K-State. I have been coaching for over 10 years now, the majority of that time spent coaching girls basketball. I got into girls basketball because there was a need; I have stayed because I prefer the women's game and coaching girls. I have 7 children — ironically 6 boys — so my players are the surrogates for my lack of daughters. I am a stern taskmaster but I have a sincere love for all of my players.

The trademarks of my teams are that they are very disciplined and play strong, pressure defense. My coaching philosophy is a bit like Pat Summitt, the coach of the University of Tennessee women's basketball team and K-State's football coach, Bill Snyder. I look for players with a strong desire to win and an equally strong determination to improve each day. I constantly instill in my players that I want us to be better tomorrow than we are today.

Perhaps the most important trait you will discover about my teams is that we are FAMILY. I try to model my teams after the North Carolina men's basketball team and the FAMILY atmosphere surrounding that program.

I can pretty much name every player that has come through my program and I continue to monitor their development as young adults — athletic, scholastic and extra curricular activities — long after they play for me. I often use former players to assist me in coaching, planting a seed in their mind to remember to give back to others what they have gotten out of the sport. Bottom line is, our association does not end at the conclusion of our season.

A common theme we found with many of the teams we faced is that they have played together for several years. With our younger teams it is our goal to teach them how to play the game, in addition to nurturing those skills over the next several years until they reach the 7th and 8th grade level, developing that same chemistry many of our opponents have.

Although we have several seasons of traveling/competitive basketball under our belts, it is still a learning experience for all of us and perhaps will be for you as well. I cannot and will not make any predictions on the season. The only thing I can guarantee is that we will work hard to develop and improve your daughter's individual and team basketball skills. I hope to make this a basketball experience that both you and your daughter can take pride in.

Past experience has taught us that it usually takes at least a year before a new team gels. As such, though it is never easy, we expect a long and difficult season. However, we do not base success on wins and losses, rather the improvement of our players over the course of the season.

Although the tournaments we are scheduled to play in are more competitive than parks and recreation basketball, I do not measure success by wins or losses. My priorities for each of my teams are for the girls to have fun, to learn and develop as players. If we accomplish that but lose every game, I will be content. Please don't get me wrong — I am fiercely competitive and hate losing with a passion — but that competitiveness takes a backseat to my objectives.

In the winter we will play in either MAYB-sponsored tournaments and/or several local tournaments. In the summer, we play mostly MAYB tournaments, but depending on the interest, we may also play in the Monday night league sponsored by the Manhattan Basketball Association. And let me just say this about the competition we've faced previously— it ain't no parks and recreation ball. It was some of the toughest competition around. Our teams have dished out some lumps and taken their lumps as well, but I think overall the level of competition benefited them. The bottom line is our players are ready to play at the next level. Most have played at the middle school level and at least four have played on the high school level.

With regards to tournaments, the dates and locations are not written in stone at this time but for the most part, a majority will be fairly close to home — at a maximum 2 hour drive time; in the winter even less. My main goal is to space the games out so that parents are not on the road EVERY weekend. I know that gets to be a grind.

If you've gotten this far in the letter, by now I'm sure you're thinking, "This sounds good, but how much is it going to cost?"

Most tournaments cost about $150 each during the winter; $250 during the summer. We try to play a minimum of six, which comes out to about $900 in the winter; and over $1,000 in the summer. Toss in uniforms (jerseys alone are $25 apiece), sweats, equipment expenses, playbooks, post-season awards, gym time etc., it adds up. Often my coaches and myself have paid for things out of our own pocket. Although we enjoy doing what we do, none of the coaching staff are millionaires. I frown upon them spending money out of their pocket unless absolutely necessary.

As such, team fees are $125. Discounts are available to families with 2 or more players and scholarships are available. The price of our fees is one of the reasons we meet so soon so that families can begin to plan ahead.

Although we feel it is money well spent, $125 dollars off the top is a nice bit of change. HOWEVER, DO NOT LET THAT AMOUNT WORRY YOU. We make every effort to ensure that this is the ONLY time that we will ask you to come out of your pocket for expenses. Our first fundraiser is a shoot-a-thon designed to raise money to cover each player's tournament entry fees. How much you pay will depend on how aggressive your daughter is in collecting sponsors/pledges for the shoot-a-thon. If she collects $125 in pledges, you pay nothing; if she collects $75 in pledges, you would pay $50. PLEASE SEE ME ASAP IF YOU NEED A SHOOT-A-THON PLEDGE SHEET.

Last winter, one player used the shoot-a-thon to raise enough money to pay her team fees, purchase shoes and other equipment. So this can be and hopefully will be done.

One of my goals for the team has and will always be to teach life skills. One of those skills is fiscal responsibility. I like for the girls to earn some — if not all — of the money they will need for the summer. Subsequent fundraisers will be used to provide scholarships to players with financial hardships and to pay for other expenses such as uniforms, equipment, training materials and a post-season party.

Because of liability and logistic reasons I do not make a habit of transporting players to our games. I have done so in an instance where a parent could not attend or that was the only way a player could participate, but for the most part parents are required to transport their child to the games. Parents may consider taking turns to carpool players to games, which are played on Saturdays and Sundays. My family rarely stays overnight for tournaments — we commute each day — however the option to stay overnight is at the discretion of each family.

Now, I say all that to say once again— traveling basketball is not cheap; it adds up over time. But it's worth it and is money well spent. I reiterate, please do not let this frighten you off. We will try to keep expenses to a minimum for the parents. The more we can stay out of your wallets the happier we are and I'm sure you will be as well. The key to that is fundraising.

We will be hosting numerous car washes before the weather cools off. In the coming months we will also be sponsoring other fundraisers and will need assistance from EVERY parent. Please get in where you fit in, or GET INVOLVED if you don't understand my lingo. This is for the benefit of our daughters.

Because the Manhattan community has been so good to our teams in the past through sponsoring our car washes and other fundraisers, another life skill I try to instill in my players is "paying what you owe" or giving back through community service. Manhattan has been more than generous in supporting the Lady Deuces, either through our car washes, raffles, pancake feeds, support of the Manhattan Basketball Association, etc., whenever we are in need. I attempt to ensure we return the favor. During the winter season the Lady Deuces sponsor "Hoops For Hunger" a 3-on-3 tournament that benefits the Flint Hills Breadbasket; in the summer our Juneteenth Hoopsfest benefits the Crisis Center.

Also, if you know of any local businesses that might be willing to sponsor us, please let us know. Please let us know also if you have any other fund raising ideas. I have some ideas but I would much rather focus my attention on the coaching aspect and helping your daughters grow as players. We need your ideas and assistance.

My staff and I look forward to coaching your daughter this season. We think the additional playing and practice time will bode well with her skill development. In my view, not only is the object of the league is for them to have fun, but to also learn and improve on their skills.

I also understand and accept that my players have lives outside of basketball and are involved in other sports and activities. I do not punish players for missing practices due to other activities and commitments — unless it becomes a chronic problem. All I ask is that my players show up to practice on time READY TO PRACTICE. If you are unable to attend, I ask that you contact me in advance. Advance does not mean 15 minutes prior to practice.

One final request is that you ensure that this endeavor is something your daughter truly wishes to do. Once our tournament fees are paid no refunds will be given.

Once again, I apologize for the length of the letter and I look forward to working with your child. Please do not hesitate to call if you have any questions.



Lady Deuces Basketball...We Got Game!

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Our $125 fee includes:

* Lady Deuces Uniform

* Payment of fees for Wildcat League and/or MAYB and various local tournaments
        (Games played on either Saturdays and/or Sundays)

* Supplies (Equipment, practice shirts, duplication of playbooks, awards, first aid supplies, etc.)

Benefits include:

* Quality Instruction

* Fundamentals

* Self-esteem

* Sportsmanship

* Teamwork

* Tradition


Parental expectations:

* Assist with fund raising events, community service projects

* Keep Score, operate clock during games

* Assist as requested with Little Apple Classic

Fees are due November 15th. No refunds will be given after tournament fees are paid and uniforms purchased. Additional fundraising will be required. Scholarships are available!!!!

Lady Deuces Basketball...We Got Game!

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