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New Zeal for Life

Buchman transplants herself into overseas coaching role

Casyn Buchman playing tennis

From The Ichabod - Fall 2018

Not long ago, Casyn Buchman, ba ’15, had her share of concerns. Her oldest sister, Chancey Buchman, needed both of her lungs replaced, and Casyn needed to find a job.

Both dilemmas were resolved by perfectly timed transplants that left the former Washburn two-sport star with fewer worries than ever.

Most importantly, a successful surgery in April 2016 gave Chancey, aa ’06, bhs ’06, a second chance at life in her battle with cystic fibrosis. Then, Casyn stumbled upon an unread Facebook message from tennis coach Chris Canady asking if she wanted to join his staff at Missouri Western State University.

Fresh off four years as a tennis and basketball standout for the Ichabods, and with her parents in North Carolina to help Chancey, the McPherson, Kansas, native was open to moving into unfamiliar territory.

“I replied right away, asking if he was still looking for an assistant,” Casyn said. “He was, but the job would require more of a relocation.”

Between the time the first message was sent and received, Canady left Missouri Western for Sparta Tennis Academy in Auckland, New Zealand. Buchman made a decision befitting her destination: She threw caution to the wind and joined Canady at Sparta Tennis Academy.

The international move didn’t require many of the typical adjustments — the Kiwis speak English, and Buchman’s commute to Sparta is a literal walk in the park, which eliminated the need to own a car or learn to drive on the left side of the road. Instead, the biggest transition came with her mindset.

“They’re so laid back,” she said. “I love it because their attitude about everything is, ‘It’ll be all right.’”

The relaxed environment suits Buchman well. Sparta’s website says its newest instructor, “has the most positive mindset of the coaching team.” While most of New Zealand is known for its laid-back vibe, that’s not always the case for the children Buchman coaches.

Many of the younger players are part of the Academy program, which develops those who take the game more seriously. Buchman’s kinesiology degree, particularly the sports science and physiology coursework, help her connect with all of Sparta’s athletes, regardless of their capabilities.

“I like to say I coach all ages, from 4 to 84,” Buchman said. “I’m able to work with a variety of skill levels and competitiveness and get through to them based on their individual mindset.”

Buchman knows firsthand what it takes to succeed on the court. She was Washburn’s No. 1 singles and doubles player in her junior and senior years, with a 54-29 career singles record. Her 24-5 doubles record is second best in school history.

She also made the MIAA Academic Honor Roll and scholar athlete teams all four years, winning the MIAA sportsmanship award as a junior.

But if she was asked at Washburn which sport she would pursue as a career, tennis wouldn’t have been her first guess.

On the basketball court, she finished with 989 career points (23rd in school history), 113 3-pointers made (ninth) and 277 assists (15th).

“I know basketball was her favorite,” said basketball teammate Ally Nikkel, bba ’15. “But she was really good at tennis, and she’s such a people person, so she’d be really good at being able to teach people the game.”

Buchman lived all four years with Nikkel and fellow basketball starter Brittney Lynch, bba ’15. Both of her former roommates stayed in Topeka after college and work together at Advisors Excel. Buchman went to the other extreme.

“She’s always been one who wants to try new things,” Nikkel said. “So, I wasn’t surprised she left Kansas. But I wasn’t expecting her to go that far away.”

Keeping in touch with others has been tougher with the 17-hour time difference and the cost of calls overseas.

“Washburn brought me some of the greatest people and opportunities I could have ever imagined,” Buchman said. “What I miss most are my teammates. I hope each one of them knows how much I miss seeing them on a daily basis.”

Despite living in an island nation on the other side of the globe, Buchman maintains close contact with her family. She was on the line in July for her other sister, Cheyna’s, gender reveal party. She also frequently talks to her parents, Cheryl and Rodney, and Chancey, who has fully recovered.

“I don’t get to speak to them as often as I’d like,” Buchman said, “whether it’s because I’m working odd hours or out adventuring, but they understand and have my back 1,000 percent. They know I’m living the dream.”

The Ichabod magazine spring 2021

The Ichabod tells our story with features on alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends, along with the latest campus news. Read the 2021 spring edition online and look for it in mailboxes in May.

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