Skylar Bareford: SWA and Assistant Coach at Greenville University

Skylar Bareford is currently the Senior Woman Administrator and Assistant Women’s Basketball Coach at Greenville University in Greenville, Illinois. In addition to administration and coaching she also teaches in the Sport Management department. Coach Bareford has helped lead the Greenville Panthers to a 15-1 conference record, overall record of 21-6, and 4th place finish in the NCCAA national tournament. She played her college basketball at Gordon College where she earned her B.S. in Recreation, Sport and Wellness with a specialization in Sport Studies, as well as a B.S. in Biblical Studies.

Your Boss’s Boss

At the Division III level it isn’t uncommon for coaches and administrators to have multiple areas of responsibility. Coach Bareford is an assistant for the women’s basketball team, the Senior Woman Administrator and a professor for the Sport Management program. Her duality of roles interestingly makes her her boss’s boss and vice versa.  Especially at such a young age (Skylar became the SWA when she was 24), the unique dynamics and challenges of the Division III level have given her outstanding experiences that she would not have otherwise been able to attain. This has been her favorite part in her time at Greenville, getting a wide range of interaction across campus and within the department. In particular, she has been able to see how others handle conflict and still maintain strong relationships, an essential ingredient for successful coaches and administrators. While her age can pose an additional challenge at times, she is lucky to work for a department that respects titles and hierarchy but at the end of the day is a group of people working together for one common goal.


As someone who holds a variety of roles in a department, Coach Bareford has to set and stick to her priorities in order to balance all that is expected of her. For her, that starts with prioritizing God first so that she can pour into others. In addition, she sets her priorities at the end of everyday by making a list of what has to be accomplished the next day. It helps her to organize and tackle the next day in the most beneficial way. In a job that never has two days the same, prioritizing needs of importance is crucial!

Finding Your Next Step

As the Senior Woman Administrator, Coach Bareford has been a part of a high number of interview processes for openings within the department. Most surprising to her throughout her process is the number of people who come in unprepared for an interview. In her experience some candidates skip on doing their homework about an institution before entering into the interview process with them. If you are applying for a position, she highly recommends that you not only know the people that you are going to interact with throughout process but also that you understand the mission statements and core values of the school. While we as coaches often preach the right “fit” to student athletes, coaches who are job searching need to keep in mind the same approach. A candidate has to understand the school and department in order to find out if it is a right fit for them if they are a right fit for the school.

Also surprising to her is how many former athletes don’t understand the differences between the coaching aspect of the game compared to the playing side of the game. Although players have been around programs for long periods of time, they often grossly underestimate the time and effort that goes into recruiting and daily operations. Recruiting to a Division III school is also a unique skill set in and of itself due to the need to be creative with resources and specificity of recruits needed. She often sees this gap of knowledge and understanding in a young candidate’s repertoire and it can keep them from getting the job.

Coach Bareford’s Quick Hitter Interview Tips:

  • If you are sending someone a resume or letter of interest, send it early in the morning, such as 6:30 or 7 AM so it is the first thing in their inbox in the morning. Your chances of getting it seen are higher.
  • As a former athlete you can’t see becoming a coach as a direct extension of playing. It is a role within the game and you can’t underestimate the differences.
  • Mistakes seen on resumes such as misspellings, wrong names of the institution or the institutions personnel are direct reflections on how you will recruit. A keen eye for attention to detail is a must as you just simply can’t spell a recruit’s name wrong.

 Questions and Themes They Emphasis in the Interview Process:

  • How are you going to recruit players to come here?
  • What is a failure you have had in life or how have you handled a situation that hasn’t gone your way? How did this change you?
  • How do you plan to live out our athletic mission statement?

 Questions for your references:

  • How does this person communicate?
  • What are the top three things this person will bring to a staff?
  • What is something this person could improve on?
  • Do other people view them in a positive light? Can you give an example for why you feel this way about them?

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