Mother and daughter strengthen their relationship on the court

Mother and daughter strengthen their relationship on the court

By Symone Woolridge

Most college athletes are not lucky enough to see their parents in the stands for every game, let alone on the sideline yelling plays.

But women’s Associate Head Coach Andrea Gorski and freshman shooting guard Kiley Gorski get the chance to have both.

Andrea Gorski is the mother of freshman Saluki guard Kiley Gorski. Although the two new additions are first-time members of Saluki basketball, this is not the only time they have worked together.


Andrea has coached Kiley twice before and has a substantial amount of coaching experience. Andrea coached at the Livonia Young Man’s Christian Association in Michigan, the St. Michaels Catholic School’s youth organization team and the Michigan Celtics Amateur Athletics Association team. She also spent 12 years coaching at Ladywood High School in Michigan. At Ladywood, Andrea was a three-time Catholic League High School Coach of the Year, Michigan High School Coach of the Year, Detroit Free Press High School Coach of the Year and Associated Press High School Coach of the Year.

As Kiley was on her way to becoming a Ladywood basketball player, Andrea took a job as a collegiate head coach. Andrea took her first steps as a college coach when she began her coaching career as a graduate assistant at Bradley University where she was a former guard and is a part of the Bradley Hall of Fame.

After Bradley, Andrea began coaching at Concordia University, where she transformed the Cardinals into a national tournament team.

During Andrea’s first season as head coach, the Cardinals went 8-22; a few years later the team ended with an overall record of 29-6 and were ranked No. 4 in Division II National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. As the Cardinals’ coach, Andrea was named Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference Coach of the Year.

“I enjoyed being a part of the teams and teach so many life lessons through basketball and through sports,” she said. “That is definitely the best part.”

Andrea accepted the associate head coach position at SIU in April. Andrea and Head Coach Cindy Stein were familiar with each other before coming to SIU — Stein was the assistant coach when Andrea played at Bradley.

Stein brought in her own staff to the women’s basketball team this year and said Andrea has been a huge addition for the Saluki roster.


“It’s a big plus,” Stein said. “I know her, her coaching style and her as an individual, so it makes her so much better as a part of the team this year.”

Andrea has been anticipating her daughter’s time as a Saluki this year. Coming off of a severe knee injury, Kiley has been preparing herself for her first year. She tore both her anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament in the same knee in the first game of her senior year of high school.

Before the setback, Kiley suffered an ankle injury, which caused her to miss time on the court. Kiley said she is excited to play on the Saluki team, and is even more excited to have her mom right beside her.

Kiley was on her way to becoming a Concordia University athlete to become a part of the staff with her mother, until Stein called Andrea for the associate head-coaching job. Andrea missed the opportunity to coach Kiley during her high school basketball career and knew she could not miss the opportunity to coach her daughter during her college career.

“Once coach Stein called I knew I couldn’t leave Kiley again,” Andrea said. “Every time she was ready to come, I was leaving, but coach Stein was awesome enough to take the both of us in.”

Although Kiley was not always a fan of having her mother as a coach, now she would not have it any other way.

“When I was younger I used to get mad when she yelled at my friends on the court,” Kiley said. “But as I got older I started realizing that it was okay.”

The Gorskis’ basketball relationship has also made them stronger as a family.

“Sunday nights I’ll usually go to my mom’s house for dinner,” Kiley said. “It’s really nice just going into her office whenever I need to talk to her.”

Andrea said the mother and daughter relationship on and off the court has blossomed into a friendship. Since Kiley has been very easy to talk to and coach on the court, it has made their relationship that much easier, she said.

“Kiley has always been easy to coach because she is so competitive,” Andrea said. “If you’re going to coach your kids you hope that winning is something they love to do.”

Andrea tries to keep her inner mom off the court. She said she does a good job treating everyone the same.

“On the court, I don’t look at her as being my daughter because it’s all about the team,” Andrea said. “The only time the mom comes out is when she falls because the vision of her tearing her ACL and MCL is still playing in my head.”

Andrea hopes her legacy will pass down to her daughter. She would like Kiley to stick around as a collegiate athlete, and hopefully go on to do bigger things.

“It was nice that my kids grew up in the gym,” she said. “She’s been playing ever since she was a little girl and hopefully she’ll want to coach too one day.”