Wednesday, January 22, 2014
CNU star Schweers opts to play instead of coach
Player or coach?
For the foreseeable future, former Christopher Newport University star Chelsie Schweers sees herself as a player first. Schweers announced earlier this week that she will leave her position as first-year girls basketball coach at her alma mater, Hickory High, to play basketball overseas.
Schweers leaves Sunday for Iceland and will play for Hamar (7-12). She will play her first game on Jan. 29; the regular season concludes on March 10. She is exploring the possibility of returning to Australia for more basketball after her season in Iceland concludes. Schweers played for the Toowoomba Mountaineers in Australia last summer and previously spent a season in Greece.
It's been a stressful week, admitted the 24-year-old guard, the leading scorer in CNU history who also holds the mark as the all-time leading scorer in the state. Schweers led CNU to the Division III Final Four in 2011.
Schweers accepted the coaching position at the Chesapeake high school amid a whirlwind last July, thrilled to be starting out at program she played for. Shortly after, she turned down an opportunity to play in Germany, but the thought of returning to the court nagged her.
"My mom and I decided then that I was going to stay in coaching, but we left it as if another opportunity came up, it was meant for me to go," Schweers said. "I started to wonder, 'What if I don't get another chance?' I might not always be able to coach at Hickory, but coaching jobs will always be there. I have a short window to keep playing."
Schweers said she received full support from the Hickory principal and athletic director and is grateful for how receptive the Hawks were when she told them the news about Iceland.
"I was concerned with the parents, and how they were going to take it," Schweers said. "I was concerned, too, about the girls on the team. They're 14 and 15 years old. I was concerned they'd think I didn't care about them or I was putting them on the back burner. They did not take it like that at all. Of course, we all cried. They supported me 100 percent and told me to go make them proud."
As far as Iceland, Schweers knows little, having learned much of what she does know from a current Hickory player from Iceland. "The whole country has 300,000 people," she said. "It's going to be cold and windy."
Language won't be a barrier -- most are fluent in English and Danish -- and the country, which is close to the Arctic Circle, is known for its stunning landscape.
Schweers will be the lone American on the team, as former Mississippi State guard Diamber Johnson is returning to the United States.