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From student-athlete to student-assistant coach

There was a running joke about Amy Mahlum in the Winona State women's basketball locker room. Mahlum may have been the assistant coach, but players and fellow coaches always said that she still bleeds green. "It's so true," said Mahlum, who was a...

There was a running joke about Amy Mahlum in the Winona State women's basketball locker room.

Mahlum may have been the assistant coach, but players and fellow coaches always said that she still bleeds green.

"It's so true," said Mahlum, who was a standout point guard for UND from 2002-06. "And I will forever."

Not a lot has changed for Mahlum, who left Grand Forks two years ago.

She's still balancing challenging academics with athletic demands.

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Mahlum enrolled in graduate school at Winona in 2006. It so happened that the graduate assistant job with the women's basketball team was open and Mahlum jumped at it.

After a year, an assistant coach left and Mahlum was promoted to a full-time assistant on an interim basis. She managed to balance the full-time job, which involves travel for games and recruiting, with graduate school.

Even so, Mahlum is on track to graduate with a master's degree in educational leadership in a month.

"It was a load at times," Mahlum said.

Solid foundation

Her time at UND prepared her well. The Spring Valley, Minn., product wrote an honors thesis while competing for the Sioux. Her advisor said he never had supervised an active student- athlete on a thesis.

Mahlum, whose undergraduate degree is in psychology, was an all-North Central Conference academic selection. On the court, she left school ranked third all time in assists and fourth in steals and 3-pointers made. Her teams won two NCC titles and were a combined 112-19.

"The experience I had was amazing," Mahlum said. "Not only did I meet my best friends, but the support we had was incredible. I don't think there's anything like it.

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"Winona has had some great men's teams, and they don't seem to attract as much attention as we had. The women's team here. . . . our head coach started four years ago with six walk-ons. He's done an amazing job building it up. But still, it was such a wake-up call and it made me realize how lucky I was to play at such a great program."

Mahlum said she's done coaching at Winona State, because her interim contract was up after the season. She now will search for jobs in her field, which could include higher education, athletic administration or career counseling.

"Winona was a great experience for me, but it's not the right fit right now," Mahlum said. "(Coaching) is still something I might do in the future. But right now, that's a lifestyle I'm not ready to commit to. I like it, but I'm not sure if that's my passion."

If it's not coaching, it could be another job that deals with athletics.

"I like the atmosphere of an athletic setting," she said. "I love coaches and players and I could definitely see myself in that setting in the future."

Reach Schlossman at (701) 780-1129; (800) 477-6572, ext. 129; or send e-mail to bschlossman@gfherald.com .

Schlossman has covered college hockey for the Grand Forks Herald since 2005. He has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors as the top beat writer for the Herald's circulation division four times and the North Dakota sportswriter of the year once. He resides in Grand Forks. Reach him at bschlossman@gfherald.com.
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