By ALAN HOSKINS
KANSAS CITY, KAN. ----- Valerie Stambersky, the winningest women’s basketball coach at Kansas City Kansas Community College, is stepping down after giving the Lady Blue Devil basketball program two of its best years in history.
“My family comes first,” said Stambersky, who commuted from Warrensburg, Mo., the past season after her husband, Damian, joined the Central Missouri State University baseball coaching staff as an assistant last summer.
The couple has two children, a son Taylor, 8; and a daughter Tyler, 5. In addition to her coaching duties, Stambersky served the last two years as Assistant Athletic Director where her responsibilities included overseeing the Communications and Web Design for the Athletic Department website.
Stambersky said her decision to resign was anything but easy.
“I got this job right out of college so this has been my home. I’ve truly enjoyed my years at KCKCC and telling my players I was leaving was the most difficult part. But in the long run it’s the best thing for my family. And I won’t miss later drives home in the snow that turns an hour, 15 minute trip into three hours.”
Stambersky won’t get out of the coaching profession. She has accepted a teaching and an assistant coaching position in the Warrensburg School District starting this fall.
“Valerie takes a professional approach to everything she does and I appreciate the amount of work ship put into making our women’s basketball team competitive at the national level,” said KCKCC Athletic Director Tony Tompkins. “The best thing about Val is that she truly cared about the on-court and off-court success of her players and prepared them to be successful when they left KCKCC. That she was able to find something so close to her family was certainly something I was happy to see.”
The Blue Devils came within one win of the NJCAA national tournament this past season, shared the Division II League title with JCCC and tied for second in the Jayhawk East with the Cavaliers, all career bests for Stambersky. In addition to compiling a 221-264 record over a 16-year career, she had NJCAA All-Academic teams in 2009-10 and 2010-11.
During her tenure, more than 50 Blue Devils received scholarships to four-year colleges and universities including seven from this year’s squad.
Eight players from this year’s 28-4 team are scheduled to return this fall.
“This will be a good team,” said Stambersky.
Stambersky came to KCKCC on June 1, 1999, after serving as a graduate assistant at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Mich. She earned a BA in Criminal Justice while graduating with distinction from Ferris State in 1998, and in July 1999, graduated with highest distinction from Ferris State with a Master's Degree in Correctional Administration.
A native of Salem, Ohio, Stambersky won just about every prep honor possible as a senior. Averaging 19.3 points per game, she was all-conference, all-conference player of the year, all-county, county player of the year, first team all-district, district player of the year, first team all-state and all-state co-player of the year.
She chose Ferris State University, a Division II college, over several other colleges following high school.
While at Ferris, Stambersky was a four-year starter and a co-captain for three years. She was a three-time Great Lakes Inter-Athletic Conference All-Academic selection, a two-year all-conference player, team MVP her junior and senior year and was selected to the GTE All-Academic Region Team as a senior.
Stambersky holds several records at Ferris including 3-point field goals in a season (72); 3-point field goal attempts in a career (598); 3-point field goal percentage (.344); free throw percentage in a season, (.912); consecutive free throws (32); all-time leader in steals (253); and fourth in scoring in school history (1,304).