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From Laker, to pro, to coach

Stec succeeds in Cazenovia, Siena, Denmark, Holland

Heather Stec sails toward the hoop while playing for the STOL-Grasshoppers in the Dutch professional womens basketball league in 2011. During her career in Holland, Stec averaged 21.4 points per game.

Heather Stec sails toward the hoop while playing for the STOL-Grasshoppers in the Dutch professional womens basketball league in 2011. During her career in Holland, Stec averaged 21.4 points per game.

— Stec said she was happy to return back to America, although the two years she spent playing professional basketball in Europe granted her priceless memories and close friends. “In Denmark, I loved my teammates. It couldn’t have been a better experience. Even when I was in Holland, I went back to Denmark to visit the team,” she said. “They accepted me so quickly, it wasn’t an issue at all. I think the best parts about being overseas were the families I got to meet and the friendships I made.”

While assisting Cazenovia College womens basketball coach Chris Comino, the Wildcats finished the season 5-19. Stec’s advice helped junior Megan McDermot get to the basket more often, eventually passing the 1,000-point-mark for her career.

Stec also helped out with coaching responsibilities at Cazenovia Middle School this past year, assisting Coach Rob Axelson and Coach Mark Evans with the seventh and eighth grade girls basketball teams.

But not just the college and middle school athletes have benefitted from Stec’s pointers. Her younger sister Ashley, who currently plays basketball for Manhattan, helped lead the Cazenovia Lakers to a first-ever appearance in the statewide final four. Stec’s other siblings have also experienced success – her younger sister April played lacrosse at Le Moyne College and her younger brother Keith is currently enrolled at Cornell University.

Stec was recently accepted to Springfield College’s graduate program, where she will look to gain a master’s degree in psychology with a concentration in athletic counseling. While on the college’s campus in Massachusetts, she will act as a graduate assistant for the womens basketball team, splitting her time between studying and coaching.

Until classes start in the fall, Stec said she looks forward to spending time with her family and enjoying being back in familiar surroundings.

Pierce Smith is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at 434-8889 ext. 338 or editor@cazenoviarepublican.com.

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