Where Are They Now: Kim Winkfield
Throughout the summer, NAU Athletics will take a look back and catch up with former Lumberjack women's basketball players in a Where Are They Now series.
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Kim Winkfield spent her Lumberjack career dishing out dimes. NAU's all-time leader in assists at the end of her career, Winkfield's court sense helped her tremendously in setting up her teammates for easy buckets. Given her ability to assist, maybe it is no coincidence that today Winkfield is working in customer service, trading in the basketball court for the trade show industry.
Winkfield currently lives and works in Las Vegas, Nev. where she has spent the last year working as an Exhibitor Service Supervisor for Freeman, "the premier provider of integrated marketing solutions for live engagements," according to their website. Holding a degree in history and considering culinary school, the vision Winkfield was known for on the court may not have been as clear when considering a post-collegiate career but she is thrilled with where she landed.
"My dad (worked in) audio and visual so he set up the lights for a lot of trade shows," Winkfield said. "I never thought about going into the trade show industry, but I applied for an opening and I realized I really liked my job. I liked speaking with and helping people so it was a really good fit for me. I really enjoy my job at Freeman."
Winkfield has been helping people long before landing with Freeman dating back to her career at NAU, a time in her life that almost never happened. Following a decorated prep career at Tucson Magnet High School where she was a three-time first team All-Tucson selection and two-time Tucson Player of the Year runner-up, Winkfield initially thought she wanted to leave the state to pursue basketball at the next level. However, an official visit on the NAU campus with former Lumberjack head coach Meg Sanders changed things.
"After we finished touring the campus, (Sanders) asked me 'what's keeping you from signing here' and I didn't have an answer," Winkfield said. "She told me this was perfect for me and she was right. I would've hated being away from home and it was an easy transition for me to NAU from Tucson. My family could still come up and my sister actually went to NAU too, so it went as perfectly as I could've planned."
What followed was a Hall of Fame caliber career. Despite tearing her ACL which forced her to miss her sophomore year, one can find Winkfield's name throughout the school record books. She is one of 14 players in the 1,000 point club, ranked 11th with 1,061 career points and is tied for the school record with 193 career three-pointers made. The 2007 All-Big Sky second team member is now second all-time with 441 assists, seventh in career steals with 188, second in career blocks with 128 while playing in the second-most games (122) with the eighth-most minutes played (3,026).
A team captain during NAU's Big Sky Championship run all the way to the NCAA Tournament in 2006, she still maintains close friendships with many of her teammates over a championship bond that they all share.
"You go through so much, good and bad, when you're on a team and it's hard to realize your life without them," Winkfield said. "Alyssa Wahl, Beth Hopper, Laura Dinkins and I still talk a lot and even if that part of our lives is over, our friendship doesn't have to be. Winning the championship for the first time in school history is something that means a lot to all of us. I'm proud of that and I know everyone on that team is proud of that."
Even after her career finished, Winkfield found a way to stick around the program as she served as a color commentator for Fox Sports' broadcasts of NAU women's basketball.
"The first few games I was very nervous and after a while you realize that you're talking about a sport that you love and enjoy," Winkfield said. "I was very competitive though so it was hard sitting there knowing I couldn't go out there and participate so I sometimes I got a little animated."
After her short stint as commentator, Winkfield moved to Chicago, Ill. and landed a job as an Exhibitor Service Representative with Freeman. After two and a half years, she moved to Las Vegas where her work has kept her busy as the supervisor of the company's customer service team. Now she works with customers and helps them set up their orders for trade shows.
"We work with customers who are doing their first trade show or their 100th trade show," Winkfield said. "Our company does a lot of the biggest trade shows in America so it's always busy. We do the Consumer Electronics Show, SEMA which is a big car show, so there is never really a time that I don't have anything to do."
Her time may be occupied on a daily basis, but that does not stop her from frequenting Flagstaff to catch a few women's basketball games. She remains connected with the program she did it all for and has high hopes for the program moving forward.
"They were young last year and I really believe that they're going to be a good team going forward," Winkfield said. "The team is very promising and a lot of us still pay attention to how they're doing. Coach Darling has them going in the right direction, so hopefully they'll be the next team to make it to the NCAA Tournament. It's a long, hard process but they have the right coaches in place for that."