Former BYU women’s basketball star Jackie Beene McBride is returning to the Marriott Center to see her number 22 jersey hung in the rafters.
“Jackie was a contemporary of mine at BYU and one of the all-time great women’s athletes in school history,” BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe said in a press release. “We are excited for the opportunity to honor her distinguished career by hanging her jersey in the Marriott Center.”
McBride, a six-foot guard/forward and former All-American, played for BYU from 1978 to 1982 and graduated in 1984 with a degree in family sciences and child development. She is only the second BYU women’s basketball player to have her jersey retired. The ceremony will take place during halftime of the final home game of the season against Gonzaga on Saturday, Feb. 23.
McBride had a successful four-year career at BYU but thrived during her senior year. The success never fazed McBride, however. She was not focused on the records or the awards, but on working hard and living in the moment.
“You give it your all like the rest of the years,” McBride said, referring to her senior season. “But for some reason, you know you’re done after that. So you cherish each moment, you cherish each game.”
McBride will admit she is proud of scoring more than 2,000 points, a feat rarely achieved by men or women. She ended her career with a total of 2,191 points, one of the four BYU women’s basketball players to score more than 2,000 points. Only four BYU men’s basketball players have reached that accomplishment. During her senior season, McBride averaged 21.4 points per game.
“I wasn’t really playing for 2,000 points,” McBride said. “I didn’t go play to get 2,000 points. I just played ball and had fun doing it, and whatever happened, happened. … I knew it was close (to 2,000 points). People told me because I didn’t know.”
Despite all of her individual hard work, McBride is grateful for her teammates. Without them, she could not have reached such incredible levels of success.
“That was awesome to have (former BYU president) Elder Holland be the one to hand me that (game) ball and go over to my teammates and gather around and have a shared moment,” McBride said. “It’s not an individual thing. It’s one of those things that all of those people helped me get. … It just happened to happen, which, when you’re surrounded by good coaches and wonderful teammates, it’s a possibility.”
One of her past teammates was Tina Gunn Robison, former All-American and BYU all-time leading scorer with 2,759 points. Robison’s jersey was retired in 2004, and her number 44 is hanging from the rafters, waiting for its old teammate to join it.
“That’s incredible to be able to be next to Tina,” McBride said. “To me, I feel honored to be in the rafters with Tina. She was an incredible player. We just worked together and accomplished a lot of great things together.”
McBride’s old team had a reunion a year and a half ago to catch up and see each other in person again. To McBride, it was as if no time had passed. They picked up right where they left off. She mused about what it would have been like to play basketball and be at BYU today.
“I laugh because we didn’t even have spandex back then,” McBride joked. “They get spandex underneath those shorts. We had to wear those short-shorts and I was like, ‘Can’t we wear some longer shorts?’ I would’ve loved to wear those longer shorts that they have now.”
One aspect of McBride’s experience at BYU was very similar to the experiences of many young women today. She married her high school sweetheart, Brent McBride, after writing him every week while he was serving an LDS mission in England. They got married her sophomore year.
“When he was leaving it was very difficult for both of us,” McBride said. “We wrote once a week for the whole mission, so you know we were pretty serious. I did date while he was on his mission. For me, it was just comparing and making sure. Nobody compared to him.”
Since 1982, McBride’s life has changed dramatically. Originally from Clearfield, her family now resides in Meridian, Idaho. She has three children, Erin, Michael and Andi, and three grandchildren. When her children were growing up, McBride encouraged her children to participate in whatever activities they wanted. She wanted them to do what they actually wanted to do rather than forcing basketball on them.
“Really everything that I’ve done so far has been about helping my kids,” McBride said. “I never forced my children to play basketball. I don’t want them to be me; I want them to be them and find out what they like the best. I had to balance myself and say, ‘What do you want to do?’ So they all found their own path.”
The most exciting part about having her jersey retired is sharing it with her family.
“They just think that it’s the coolest thing ever,” McBride said. “They are over the moon about it. My son keeps saying, ‘Mom, do you know how big this is? No you don’t, you do not!’ My daughter is proud of me for other reasons than my jersey being retired. They’re good kids.”
Her youngest daughter, Andi, might not be able to make the ceremony because she is a member of the Weber State University track team and may have team commitments, but McBride understands that commitment very well.
“She was really disappointed,” McBride said. “But I said, ‘Look, you’ve got to do your thing. Go win it, do your best. That’s where you’re supposed to be.’ Of course I’d love to have her there, there’s no question. I missed things when I was playing ball. I explained that to her. I missed things because I was committed. Once you sign on that line, you’re committed to that team.”
Today, McBride is helping her friend assist a high school basketball team along with working full-time. She loves lighting a fire within the girls and using her talents to help others. She also loves spending time with her family. Her time at BYU is a part of her life that she will always cherish.
“When you play college ball and you’re a student athlete, those are times that will never be forgotten. It was incredible. It was a great, great opportunity, and I feel very privileged to be a part of BYU in any way. The neatest thing I think is the people you meet, the people who touch your lives for good. You learn from them, you grow from them and you’re a better person for being around them. I really am grateful.”