THE LOOP — Roosevelt University women's basketball head coach Robyn Scherr-Wells doesn't need to look too far down the bench to find her mentor.
The Lakers' coach is assisted by her father, Marty Scherr. In the program's third season, the coaching duo has led No. 23 Roosevelt, which opened its new downtown gym — the Lillian and Larry Goodman Center — on Dec. 1, to its first-ever ranking in the NAIA Division II national poll.
"I always wanted to coach with my dad," said Scherr-Wells, whose 9-3 Lakers lost 82-61 to No. 17 Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee on Saturday afternoon. "He's been the coach who's had the greatest influence over me."
Scherr-Wells grew up serving as her dad's understudy, going back all the way to sixth grade, when she assisted his seventh- and eighth-grade Glen Ellyn Park District girls basketball team.
"Even then, she knew what everybody was supposed to do," Scherr said. "She was always good at knowing who the best players were and evaluating talent."
When the Lakers' program was resurrected in 2009 - following a two-decade absence from collegiate competition - and the school was searching for a coach, it turned to Scherr-Wells, who already was working at Roosevelt as an admissions counselor.
"It wasn't me trying to do something different or new; it was trying to find the best assistant coach I could have," said Scherr-Wells, who earned an athletic scholarship as a manager/practice player at the University of Michigan and later was an assistant coach at Portland State University in Portland, Ore.
And her assistant is no slouch, either: Scherr has more than 20 years of experience coaching women's hoops at the AAU, high school and college levels.
A female head coach having her father as an assistant is not unprecedented. Holy Cross, one of the teams in Roosevelt's conference, is guided by head coach Aimee Litka Niespodziany and assistant Clem Litka. Eastern Oregon also has a daughter-father combo, too. NAIA manager of communications and sports information Alan Grosbach said no official statistic is kept.
Scherr-Wells said she rarely argues with her dad on the bench, only occasionally "over who gets to yell at the referees."
"It's obviously a different relationship than most head coaches and assistant coaches, but we don't have major disagreements," Scherr said.
The duo has brought a "family atmosphere" to the program, said junior guard Casey Davis, the Lakers' leading scorer.
"They work well together," said Davis, 20. "They are a good team."
Scherr, 64, has no plans of leaving his daughter's team anytime soon.
"To have the opportunity where your daughter really wants to do this and really wants to do this with me, it's awesome," he said. "You can't beat it."