Breaking through to bring the Bears’ Women’s Basketball program their first Region I title in a dozen years last March may have seemed an out-of-nowhere accomplishment to some, but in actuality, it was something that Kristi Kincaid has been groomed for since her basketball career started. Conference, region, and national success is old hat for Kincaid, who begins her 6th year at the helm of PC Women’s Basketball, but is also beginning her third decade of college basketball experience, and has gleaned pieces of championship success from everywhere she’s been. Her charges should listen intently when Kincaid talks about how to excel your way to a major title, since she’s been a part of national championship teams as both a player and a coach.
Like many women’s basketball coaches-past and present in the ACCAC, she got her first taste of winning college basketball under NJCAA Hall of Fame Women’s Basketball Coach Lin Laursen at Central Arizona College. Laursen gave “KK” her start-both as a college player and coach, and Kincaid rewarded her mentor by leading the Vaqueras to an NJCAA National Championship as a sophomore player, then as Laursen’s assistant coach a few years later. Kincaid then used that coaching jewel to get her first taste of four-year coaching for one year at the University of California-Riverside, followed by five years at the University of Nevada in Reno.
After taking a few years off to work in the private sector in the Phoenix area, Kincaid saw a huge opportunity to return to the coaching ranks when former CAC teammate (and fellow Laursen disciple) Samantha Ezell offered Kincaid an associate head coaching position at PC in 2009, and jumped at the chance. Kincaid spent a year at Ezell’s side before getting her first chance to be a head coach when Ezell ascended to the Bears’ Athletic Director position. Since then, Kincaid has led the Bears to a three Region I Playoff appearances in 5 years, and last year, took an unheralded Bears’ squad on a Cinderella march through the Region I Playoffs (dethroning defending national champion Mesa in the finals) and to an 8th-place finish at the NJCAA DII Women’s Basketball Championships. Kincaid has also coached a pair of NJCAA All-Americans (Francesca Nimes in 2010-11, Antoinette Miller in 2012-13). Kincaid’s main source of pride, though, is that all 5 of her Bears’ teams have been named NJCAA Academic All-American teams for having a cumulative grade point average over 3.0, and her last 2 teams have owned the highest cume GPA in the Bears’ Athletic Department (which is a hotly contested title!).
As a player, Kincaid followed up her two-year national title at CAC with an NAIA National Championship at Northern Montana State University. She’s also in the history books as the only player in women’s college basketball history to earn national titles at two schools while being named the Most Valuable Player of each national tournament at the same time. Kincaid earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Liberal Studies from Northern Arizona University, and also has an Associate of Science degree from Central Arizona. When not engrossed in basketball, Kincaid dotes on her 13-year-old daughter, Gabbi.