BURLINGTON, N.C. – Faith, family and basketball have always been a big part of Nevada women’s basketball coach Jane Albright’s life.
Part of that family includes National Agents Alliance President and CEO Andy Albright, the veteran basketball coach’s first cousin. On Dec. 29, the two cousins had an Albright reunion of sorts as Andy and his wife, Jane hosted a social gathering for Coach Albright and her Wolf Pack players in Union Ridge at the Albright home.
Coach Albright spent a few hours letting her players see where she grew up and they got to meet her family, when the team visited the Burlington area prior to the Wolf Pack’s game against Wake Forest in Winston-Salem Dec. 31.
The short trip allowed Albright and the Wolf Pack to visit her family, and it let her friends and family watch her coach against the Demon Deacons. Among the guests were Albright’s brothers and her Graham High School coach Anne Maynard.
“Home is always awesome because it always reminds you of who you are, what you believe in and who you believe in,” Albright said Saturday. “I grew up in a house on Marshall Street right near the courthouse. Coming back to that area is just amazing to me; my whole family is there except for me. I’m the only one who left the state of North Carolina so I feel like I’m here all the time. It’s great to be back.”
An added bonus during the visit came in the form of a visit from former N.C. State legend Tommy Burleson, who won an NCAA title with the Wolfpack in 1974 and played in the Olympics and NBA before returning to Avery County where he grew up.
Burleson spoke to the team at the home of Andy Albright. The team was able to socialize, play games and hear Burleson and Andy Albright.
Coach Albright said she could remember visiting her cousin Andy when he was a young boy. The two cousins reconnected through the late N.C. State women’s basketball coach Kay Yow and have remained in touch for the last five years. Jane Albright spoke to the National Agents Alliance corporate staff in Burlington in March, and Andy Albright has watched Nevada play during a business trip in Reno last year.
Albright, who started NAA in 2002, told the players not to be content with where they are today. He urged them to always try to do more and be better in life and whatever career path they take.
Part of doing that, he said, was about making wise decisions.
“Not everybody wants you to succeed, but a small amount of people do,” Andy Albright said. “Your ability to discern who those people are versus those who don’t want you to succeed is so important. Beyond that, you have to find those that want you to succeed and can help you. That will drive your success and failure … it’s really the biggest part.”
The quality of your life in five years will be determined by the people you spend time with, the books you read and the quality of the questions that you ask people that you trust, Albright added.
“Find somebody you admire, hang around them and spend time, energy and emotion to get around them,” Albright said. “Do anything you can to get around those you want to be like and get away from those that you don’t want to be like.”
Burleson, 7-foot-2, is a city planner, missionary and ACC legend. He told the team not to take their platform for granted. He talked about being picked on as a young man until he stepped on the basketball court where he was more than comfortable.
“It’s about using your talents in the spectrum you are given,” Burleson said. “You are role models and you have young people looking up to you, and they think the world of you.”
“You have a platform and it’s a very important responsibility. You are the point in your life where you can make a big difference in other people’s lives. They are looking up to you. You can teach them about making the right decisions.”
Coach Albright said the visit was special for her and she hoped that her players learned from the two guest speakers.
“For my team to get to meet Andy and Tommy Burleson was important to me,” Jane Albright said. “These are people that share some of my beliefs and values. It’s amazing to me that those guys would spend their time with us on a day when they could be doing so many other things.”