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Alumni corner: Legacy’s Noonan trades gym shoes for whistle at DU

Legacy alum Quincey Noonan, in action here during the 2012-13 season for the University of Denver, will serve as a student-coach during her seinor year in the wake of a series of injuries.
Ryan McKee/Rich Clarkson and Ass
Legacy alum Quincey Noonan, in action here during the 2012-13 season for the University of Denver, will serve as a student-coach during her seinor year in the wake of a series of injuries.

DENVER — There is no magic elixir to fix what ails Quincey Noonan.

The former Legacy basketball standout has had a series of unfortunate events that have plagued her career at the University of Denver, but her fresh approach to life and bettering not only herself but her teammates has turned what most would view as a negative into a wonderful positive.

“I had every intention of playing this year. I worked out all summer long and I rehabbed,” Noonan said, “and during a couple of basketball workouts, my Achilles just didn’t feel good. I started to get really frustrated with where I was at physically.

“With my career, that was kind of the last straw.”

So instead of bowing out and giving up on the game altogether, Noonan has stayed with her Pioneers teammates — who voted her a captain this year despite the fact she will never play a game. She will wear a plethora of hats as player, coach and student manager all in one.

The injury bug began feasting on Noonan during her sophomore year. After being named DU’s Most Valuable freshman during the 2010-11 season, Noonan broke her arm midway through her second year.

“And then my first game back, I broke my hand,” she said.

After missing half of her sophomore year, Noonan started her junior season with a bang. After being named to the All-Western Athletic Conference Preseason second team, she recorded a career-high 11 rebounds against Louisiana Tech and followed that up two nights later with 16 points against Texas-Arlington.

“But sometime during the preseason, that’s when I noticed that my Achilles was really hurting and I was never really able to get back into it,” Noonan said. “I rehabbed like crazy and I never really got back into shape and never got back to playing like I was. I was frustrated with how I was playing and I was just frustrated with basketball in general.

“It was taking its toll on me both mentally and emotionally and when I just couldn’t come back from the Achilles after this summer, I just didn’t want to go through what I did last year by not knowing which games I would be playing in, I wasn’t practicing. And I said if I can’t be all in, I don’t want to be in at all.”

But basketball was in Noonan’s blood, and second-year Pioneers coach Kerry Cremeans, who never really got a chance to coach Noonan, was more than happy to keep Noonan around the team and her mind active in the game she loves.

“I think for any competitive athlete, it’s an adjustment. When you’ve been a competitor for so many years it takes a lot of time to adjust to that,” said Cremeans, who starred at the University of Florida during her playing days. “It took a lot for her to come to that decision, but that being said, she is the captain of this team, she is a student-coach and is very active in instructing and teaching players. She is knowledgeable, she is smart and her work ethic is incredible and that work ethic has now turned into a coach’s mentality.”

So is coaching in her future?

Not in the immediate future. Noonan, who will get her degree in international studies this coming spring and after studying abroad in Costa Rica. She would like to join Teach for America and teach English in places like Thailand. She has also looked into jobs with the World Health Organization and the United Nations.

“There are a lot of things I want to accomplish first, career-wise and traveling,” Noonan said. “But I wouldn’t be surprised if later on in life, I find my way back to basketball and coaching. Who knows?”

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