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Former Celt Visualizes Coaching Aspirations

Former Celt Visualizes Coaching AspirationsToughness and accountability are two main characters of a good coach. Anthony Medina '12 has a goal of becoming a Division 1 head coach and is not going to let anyone stop him from succeeding, not even himself.

Medina, a University of St. Thomas graduate in English and former power forward for the men's basketball team, hit the ground running creating and piloting Blue Cure basketball for his Amateur Athletic Union basketball teams. The Blue Cure Foundation is an organization that strives to promote awareness about prostate cancer and encourage prevention through diet and lifestyle habits.

"It's a good time to coach kids, and Blue Cure basketball is the perfect avenue," Medina said. "When I was picking the team name, I wanted the kids to wear something that sends a message and represents something powerful. I had no clue it was going to be this big. I thought it was just basketball, but it is a cause that people really connect with."

With the blessing of Gabe Canales '99, UST alumnus and founder of the Blue Cure Foundation, Medina's coaching ambitions started a wave of cancer awareness among young men and their parents. Blue Cure basketball has six teams, ages 11-17. Medina coaches the 17-and-under team and has AAU tournaments throughout the summer.

"I get anxious about coaching," Medina said. "Win or lose, I still get nervous about the game, but I love working with players, being in a gym and working with a team."

Playing basketball since he was five, Medina played in YMCA leagues, in El Paso where he grew up before moving to the Woodlands when he was 10, and even stopped drinking soda as a child to be a better player. He was a self-proclaimed troublemaker as a kid, but always indulged himself in basketball to escape.

"Basketball has shaped me in so many ways," Medina said. "Everything I do revolves around it. I changed my life for basketball."

When he graduated from high school, Medina worked construction and was a waiter, but realized he needed more. He decided to attend college at Cedar Valley College in Dallas and later transferred to UST in 2009.

"I realized what I was capable of achieving and stopped giving myself excuses," Medina said. "My mom didn't pressure me because she wanted me to find my path and, I'm so glad it led me to St. Thomas."

Medina was a student-athlete dedicated to performing well. As Head Coach and Athletic Director Todd Smith's first recruit, Medina helped lead the way for establishing mental toughness and a strong defensive presence on the court. He also maintained an A-B average.

"Constantly doing something didn't leave me much time to goof off," Medina said. "I loved the pressure of school and keeping up my routine. I wasn't sure if I could do it at first, and now I'm actually going to miss it."

Coach Smith had a big impact on Medina's development as a player and a man.

"He was a mentor to me," Medina said. "He's the image of what I want to be when I get older. Seeing him as a coach and a father has been such an inspiration to me."

Dr. Michele Simms, associate professor of management and marketing and Director and Cullen Trust Endowed Chair Center for Business Ethics, also enlightened Medina about human interactions and personality types through group projects.

"She's incredible," Medina said. "She was always there just to talk when I needed it. I will definitely stay in touch with her."

Medina cherishes the tools that UST gave him to be a successful, driven individual.

"St. Thomas was the perfect choice," Medina said. "This experience could not have been better, and it feels so good to be able to take pride in where I went to school."

Medina recently finished coaching youth players at a camp at Duke University with Coach Mike Krzyzewski, the winningest coach in Division 1 basketball history. In the fall, he will be working as a graduate assistant at Missouri Western State University under Head Coach Tom Smith, father of UST Coach Smith.