Jackie Zink said her strongest asset is her determination, but the one quality that could help the 49ers contend for a Big West title, however, is her experience.
Zink was hired as a new women’s basketball assistant coach to fill a position left vacant by Jason Flowers, who accepted an assistant job at UC Riverside. She spent last season as a coaching intern under the guidance of Hall of Fame coach Tara Vanderveer, who led the Stanford Cardinal to the NCAA National Championship game before falling to Tennessee.
Born in Calistoga, a small town in Napa Valley, Zink said she wanted to get into coaching ever since her freshman year in college. Before her time at Stanford, Zink spent one season at the University of San Francisco as a volunteer assistant coach.
She occupied the position while also working as a K-8 physical education teacher. After two one-year stints with Bay Area schools, Zink said she likes what she sees thus far in her first coaching gig in Southern California. “I never look ahead beyond one year, but so far, it’s where I want to be,” she said. “The staff is awesome. If you can find something you love and work for somebody that you respect, then it’s a good combination.”
Women’s head coach Mary Hegarty expressed a positive outlook on the hiring. “Jackie brings a fresh enthusiasm and passion to our program,” Hegarty said. “She has a wide range of experience from the Division I level to the high school level.
Her position last year with the Stanford program that played for the National Championship is something very few people get to experience.” Knowing that the squad was plagued by injuries last season, Zink said that health would be a crucial factor in determining the 49ers’ success this season.
“If we stay healthy, we’ll be good,” she said. “My job is to get us prepared for anything at anytime and make things easier.” Senior guard Karina Figueroa said that Zink’s credentials provide a huge lift for the team. “I’m extremely excited about Coach Zink, especially with the background she had with Stanford,” Figueroa said.
“As a team, we are all looking forward to moving up and better developing our skills of the game from her experiences. She seems like a very uplifting person with plenty of energy, and that is exactly what we need.”
Zink set high expectations for the team. “Our goal for this season is 20 wins,” she said. “We’re all determined to get the program back to where it once was.”