Pushing Forward: Friends Falcons head coach Nicole Midder

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Nicole Midder is no stranger to Friends basketball. A star player, an assistant for six years, it was the perfect fit when she took over as the head coach before the season.

"I was the one who cried and hugged her for the longest time," senior guard April Quiroz said.

Her experience isn't just limited to on the court. Midder served in the U.S. Army for eight years, which included 400 days in Iraq.

"Coach makes me want to be a better person, she makes me want to work hard everyday, kind of gets me emotional, but she's always positive," Vining said.

Midder also has spent several of her days in the hospital.

"My last two surgeries here were in Wichita and they completely failed and it was the morning of our Hartman championship game and it was scary, but I just kind of trust the process with that," Midder said. "You know I try not to think of it in a negative way, I understand that God gave it to me and it could be a lot worse, so I try not to complain about it."

She has had eight kidney surgeries for a chronic condition. It almost took the game from her. But she didn't let it beat her. She pushed through and now years later she's able to share her story with the Falcons players.

"Everything happens for a reason but no matter what happens it's going to happen because it's inevitable, it's not what you do, it's how you respond to it and understand that the punches are going to happen and the world is tough and we just have to keep going but family matters and you never have to go through anything by yourself, so we're all here, we all support each other and that's how we go, that's how we move, push forward," Midder concluded.

The Falcons open their season Oct. 31 at home against Bacone.