The Athena players visited the University of Alabama at Birmingham in Birmingham, AL. The team spent the whole day on campus, getting an extensive introduction into the UAB women’s basketball program and its campus. The visit was facilitated by the UAB Blazers women’s head coach Randy Norton, who happens to be Athena head coach Brynjar Karl Sigurðsson’s former high school basketball coach when the latter attended Assumption high school in Davenport, IA. The former player-coach pair have maintained their relationship since Brynjar’s playing days and Coach Norton was excited to be able to introduce the Athena girls to the UAB program and enlighten them further on what the collegiate level looks like.
Coach Norton has overseen an impressive turnaround of UAB’s women’s program since he took on the head coaching job prior to the 2013-14 season. Using his previous experience of building up athletics programs at various schools and universities during his already impressive career which he continued to build upon at UAB, becoming the schools winningest coach during 2020-21 season. It was an honor for the Athena players to be able to peek behind the scenes of such a well respected mid-major basketball program.
The Athena team watched UAB women’s basketball practice followed by a meet and greet with UAB players and coaches. Previous to the visit, the UAB women’s squad and coaching staff had watched the Raise the Bar documentary, which features some of Athena’s current players and head coach Brynjar Karl. Athena is founded on the ethos that is presented in the film and the club continues the fight that the girls in the documentary started. Brynjar Karl gave a talk to the UAB squad about what lies ahead in the fight to elevate the women’s game and the keys to increasing their worth as athletes. UAB’s players and coaches then got an opportunity to ask the Athena girls and coaches about the documentary, the club and its goals. In turn, Athena’s players were able to ask UAB’s players and coaches about college basketball and the life of a student athlete.