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Raptors 905 Junior Coach Wumi Agunbiade Also Helps Female Student-Athletes Connect The Dots With Hoopers Loop

Wumi Agunbiade | Junior Coach With Raptors 905 | Founder of Hoopers Loop

I think young women can learn from other female basketball players and professionals, part of my job creating safe spaces for curating meaningful connections.

Wumi Agunbiade

Junior Coach With Raptors 905

Founder of Hoopers Loop

×This interview was completed before the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. The interview with Wumi Agunbiade was conducted via a typed conversation. Editing changes were made to make it easier to read while maintaining the voice of the interview.

We know you are a Junior Coach with the Raptors 905, but tell us about Hoopers Loop and your role as founder! What does a normal day look like for you?

Hoopers Loop is dedicated to helping young women achieve their basketball goals by educating, empowering and equipping them to make informed decisions. I have experienced my own unique journey that has defined my career thus far. I think young women can learn from other female basketball players and professionals, part of my job creating safe spaces for curating meaningful connections.

My typical day is consumed with phone calls, virtual meetings, studying the game, making meals, and exercising. I spend as much time as I can acting as a giver and serving wherever I can!

Before moving into your current role, you played professional basketball. How difficult was it to make the decision to end your playing career?

My decision wasn’t very difficult. I was enduring a lot of physical pain at the end of my playing career which forced my hand. I knew the world had more to offer than me forcing my body to play through a great deal of physical pain to play the game I loved.

The United States dominates the North American basketball market in terms of number of teams and job availability. As a Canadian, how did this impact your career path in the industry?

As an athlete, I didn’t put much of an emphasis on comparing myself to Americans. I am Jamaican-Nigerian Canadian and at the end of the day, we’re all female basketball players. Some of us were better than others depending on how much we invest in our game, not depending on our roots.

Coaching in the US was absolutely something I wanted to do after finishing my playign career. After two seasons as a graduate assistant with the women’s basketball team at the University of Pittsburgh, I sought out various institutions looking for a program willing to take the risk on me, because they would need to wait for me, a Canadian, to get her work visa versus hiring an American. The pursuit of coaching in the NCAA started to feel forced. Thankfully, I came back home and was able to have an amazing first season in the G-League and began building Hoopers Loop!

Once you retired from playing, can you describe what it was like to be given a chance to coach with the Raptors organization? Was coaching something that you always intended to pursue after your playing career?

Working with the Raptors 905 was a dream of mine!

It was something I never imagined I would accomplish but it happened. It took all the right stars aligning in order for me to get that opportunity.

I believe opportunities came to me because of the hardwork, passion, dedication that I put into the sport and into my life. Sheer love paved my way.

What are the most rewarding and the most challenging aspects of your current role?

The most challenging aspect of my current position is right now I’m wanting to do more. There’s always work that needs to be done whether it’s fine-tuning my coaching skills, spending time with my family, doing even more in the community, or catching up with old friends.

The reward comes from the mini victories within my challenges. My victories are sprinkled throughout my day and my life depending on the scope of my lens at the time.

Some of my victories include my education.

I graduated with a Bachelors in Psychology and a Masters in Business Administration. My degrees symbolize the amount of hours and effort I put into something that was gifted to me byway of the hand work I put in off and on the court.

Basketball has become such a big part of my life because of the nature of the sport. Seeing other young women care for the game as I do and did genuinely makes me happy to see and makes me continue to want to invest in those coming up.

Stacey Leawood Stacey's Final Thoughts

For a lot of athletes the decision to end their playing career is a very difficult and emotional time, as was the case with former Duquesne Duke, Pallacanestro Femminile Umbertide and Canadian National team member Wumi Agunbiade. But Wumi took her retirement (from playing) in stride and came back as a Junior Coach with the Raptors 905 for the start of the 2019-20 season, which she notes was a dream job for her! She has since started her own initiative called Hoopers Loop which is dedicated to improving the talent and exposure of young Canadian female basketball players. I can’t wait to see the continued impact Wumi has on the basketball world and the lives of our next generation of athletes!

Connect With Wumi Agunbiade