Faces In The Crowd: Rene Hanebutt
June 13, 2007
June 7, 2007
By Wes Skipwith, Texas Tech Media Relations
After receiving hands-on-coaching from Hall of Famer Marsha Sharp, former Lady Raider basketball standout Rene Hanebutt is putting her knowledge to good use as she leads her own team, the Pioneers of Texas Women's University, to basketball success.
Hanebutt, a Bowie, Texas, native, was a four year starter at guard for Texas Tech from 1995-99. During her career she helped lead the Lady Raiders to three conference championships in 1996, 1998 and 1999. She was named All-Big 12 Second Team her senior year and third team her sophomore and junior seasons. She holds the Tech single season and career record for three-point field goals made. Hanebutt is a member of the all-time Texas Tech Lady Raider team, and in 2001 she was elected into the Texas Basketball Hall of Fame.
Hanebutt said she has pride and joy when she reflects on her career at Tech. She will always remember the hard work and accomplishments she shared with her teammates.
"Being part of a group of individuals that was so dedicated to getting things done," she said. "Winning Big 12 championships, that was so much fun and so unique to actually put forth the work and to see that come true. Obviously being a part of a program that is so well respected across the country, I'm just so proud today to say that I was a Lady Raider. I know I can hold my head up high. Games are going to come and go, but it's about how you feel when you reflect about being apart of that program and I just have nothing but a big smile on my face when I think about Tech."
After graduating from Tech with a bachelor's degree in political science in 1998, Hanebutt went to work at Plains Capital Bank in Lubbock for a little over two years.
"When I was growing up," Hanebutt said, "my grandfather was a college basketball coach and my dad was a high school basketball coach, so I felt like I needed to go out there and see what else there is before I actually decide to coach. But I knew deep down that is what I was probably going to end up doing but I just wanted to see what the world was like outside of basketball."
Hanebutt said she realized she might be suited for coaching after talking with Coach Sharp her freshmen year at Tech.
"Coach Sharp just said, `Hanebutt, you're going to coach. I know that is what you want to do. You have such a passion for the game of basketball and a good understanding of it," Hanebutt said.
In 2001, Hanebutt left her job at Plains Capital and went home to Stephenville, Texas, to tend to her mother who was ill. The same week, a women's basketball assistant coaching job opened up at Tarleton State and she jumped at the chance to coach.
"It was kind of a God thing, that that happened at that exact time. So I said OK, I guess this is what is going to happen, I am going to be a coach."
After coaching for one year at Tarleton, Hanebutt said she decided she wanted to be a head coach. She took the head coaching position at Decatur High School. At Decatur, she led the Lady Eagles basketball team to two district championships. She was named district 7-3A Coach of the Year in 2003 and 2005 and Denton-Chronicle Coach of the Year in 2003.
After three years at Decatur, Hanebutt said she felt like she was better suited for coaching in a college atmosphere. In April of 2005, she became the head coach at Texas Women's University. In her first season at TWU she led the Pioneers to a 14-14 record, its best overall season in 16 years and last season TWU finished 11-16. Hanebutt said her goal at TWU is to establish an elite program like the one she played for at Tech.
"That's been difficult here because they really never had the tradition in their women's basketball program," she said. "I felt like going into it, if I can build a program at TWU then I can build a program anywhere in the country. These last couple of years it has been about trying to establish a tradition and excellence and trying to get those kids to understand what it takes to be successful both on and off the court. I never remember walking on the floor as a Lady Raider and expecting to lose or thinking that was even a possibility. The thought never crossed my mind. Establishing that mindset in a program is what I'm trying to do here."
Hanebutt said Coach Sharp was the biggest influence on her life besides her parents. She considers Sharp her second mother and uses the lessons she learned from Sharp in dealing with her own players.
"I felt like I learned more about relationships and how to treat people then I learned about basketball," Hanebutt said. "With her, we were people first and players second. She cared about us as individuals and I think that's something that a lot of programs don't have. It was a family atmosphere. You could go to her and talk to her about anything. I learned from her that I was not going to run my program like a business like some people do."
Hanebutt said she is still single but she does have two dogs that keep her company. Her job as a coach takes up most of her time and she would not want it any other way.
"I have church on Sunday's and that's pretty much my social life," she said. "It is seven days a week and I'm OK with that because at this stage of my life, I'm not married and I have the opportunity to give back to the game and to the sport that has given so much to me. I do that through the young ladies I have on my basketball team. They are my children, I call them my kids because in all honesty I'm trying to better their lives by the work I'm doing here. Because that's really what it's all about. It is not about winning basketball games. It's about how effectively you are able to influence these young ladies' lives in a positive direction."
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