UMKC women’s basketball coach Jacie Hoyt flipped through Twitter one final time before going to bed earlier this week when she found herself in the middle of a conversation … about her.
Specifically, the blue dress she has worn on the sidelines on game days.
She’s wearing the dress in a photo that was taken during a preseason shoot and is now posted as part of her Twitter profile. In the picture, she’s holding a basketball and smiling. And that image of Hoyt was later scanned onto an advertisement for UMKC’s women’s basketball camps and clinics.
Taking offense to this was the Twitter account of Crimson Illustrated, which follows New Mexico State University athletics and bills itself as offering “Opinions and insight of NMSU sports.” Like UMKC, New Mexico State is a member of the Western Athletic Conference, or WAC.
“Okay…I’ve had enough of this,” the tweet, posted earlier this week, reads. “UMKC promotes their WBB HC dressed in what I consider appropriate for an evening on the town. Are they claiming this is how she appears and dresses for her basketball camps? This is just lame…and a misrepresentation.”
Hoyt read that and scrolled through responses that strongly supported the advertisement and her personally.
“Honestly, I laughed a lot,” Hoyt said. “The biggest thing was I was thankful for the way people came to my defense, especially people I didn’t know.”
Among those who chimed in with support were a couple of sportswriters with national followings, Nicole Auerbach and Dana O’Neil of The Athletic. O’Neil wrote that she could offer fashion advice to male sportswriters, “but I’d sprain my thumbs with the endless effort.”
Others commenting on the critical tweet found basketball camps conducted by men’s coaches that included advertisements featuring Kansas’ Bill Self and Kentucky’s John Calipari, among others, decked out in fashionable blazers — attire perhaps appropriate for an evening on the town.
“I think that unfortunately a lot of females are used to seeing stuff like this,” Hoyt told The Star. “I preach to my players and other girls to be confident in who they are and not to be afraid to express themselves.”
In 2018-19, her second season with the Kangaroos, Hoyt guided UMKC to its best seed to date (No. 4) in the WAC tournament. The team’s nine conference victories also were the program’s most since the Roos joined the WAC six years ago.
Now, another positive development.
“I really took it as a compliment that people cared enough about this, our program or me to have a conversation on Twitter,” Hoyt said. “And anytime I’m mentioned with Bill Self of John Calipari, that’s a big compliment.”