Central grad Lindsey Fearing hopes to establish winning culture at New Mexico Highlands

May 9—CHEYENNE — Lindsey Fearing wasn't ready to leave New Mexico Highlands University or the city of Las Vegas, New Mexico.

The 2009 Cheyenne Central graduate has grown to love the school and community. She's immersed herself in the state's basketball circles deeply enough that she felt like she could bring pride and a winning culture to the NCAA Division II Cowgirls.

That's why Fearing decided to throw her hat in the ring and why she accepted the job as head coach late last week.

"Highlands is a school that doesn't have a great history with women's basketball in the past 15-20 years, and I want to step in and start changing things," Fearing said. "Every team needs discipline, accountability and the right kids to compete in their league.

"We want to get winners in here so we can start winning. The biggest changes I want to make are discipline and accountability."

Fearing spent the past two seasons as an assistant at Highlands under coach Garett Sherman, who resigned in March. The Cowgirls went 14-14 during Fearing's first season on the bench and 6-22 last winter.

Fearing was head coach at Central Wyoming College in Riverton from 2018-22, posting a 25-77 record. Fearing also served as an assistant coach at Gillette College for two seasons. She was an assistant coach at Lead-Deadwood High in South Dakota right after graduating from Black Hills State University in Spearfish, South Dakota.

"It wasn't until the end of my playing career that I started thinking about coaching," Fearing said. "I wanted to play professionally overseas, but I tore both of my (anterior cruciate ligaments), which stopped me from pursuing that dream.

"I wanted to stay next to the game, and the first way I thought of doing that was coaching."

Fearing spent two seasons at Casper College, earning third team All-American honors after her sophomore campaign. She followed that with a season at the University of Arizona before transferring to Black Hills State.

Fearing tore the ACL in her left knee during the first game of her senior season with the Yellow Jackets. She took a medical redshirt year to rehab the surgically-repaired knee and use her final season of eligibility. In January of that season, Fearing tore the ACL in her right knee, but continued playing on it after doctors told her she wasn't risking further harm.

"I've had people ask me how I kept playing, because they couldn't even walk when they tore their ACL," Fearing said. "I got lucky. I was still walking, running and jumping. The doctors told me I'd feel the effects of that later on down the line. I am, but I wouldn't change anything that happened."

Fearing's experience coaching at Central Wyoming is going to be immensely beneficial as she takes the reins at New Mexico Highlands.

"It's going to be easier here, partly because of what I had to do there," Fearing said. "The experience of recruiting to a rural college is going to help me. We have more of a budget here, but I know how to make do with what I've got.

"I've learned how to stretch a dollar while making sure I leave no stone unturned looking for players. ... I'm also prepared to have to teach a lot of basketball, because I'm not going to get 15-16 kids who already really know the game and are talented like the bigger, more established schools."

Fearing describes the players she's looking for as hidden gems, who are hard-nosed competitors with a history of winning. Selflessness also is a priority.

"I'm asking the kids I'm recruiting now whether they really want to play at this level, whether they're going to do what it takes to win and help us get where we want to go," she said. "Everyone so far is on board. The two words I have adopted for next year's team are: Prove it.

"They have to prove they came here for a reason, and I have to prove why I got the job."

Fearing was the second Cheyenne product hired to lead a Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference women's basketball program last month. East graduate Rachel Erickson was tabbed to return to her college alma mater of Black Hills State.

Fearing and Erickson never played together at BHSU, but they built a relationship during the recruiting process.

"I told her Black Hills was a great place when they were recruiting her, and it was really cool watching her play there after I graduated and was coaching high school basketball in that area," Fearing said. "I'm excited to be in the same league as Rachel.

"We've stayed friends over the years, and it's cool that we're going to be battling each other."

Jeremiah Johnke is the WyoSports editor. He can be reached at or 307-633-3137. Follow him on X at @jjohnke.