Barbara Dee Ehardt was born and raised in Idaho Falls, graduating from Idaho Falls High School. She then attended North Idaho Junior College and Idaho State University on a basketball scholarship. This “love of the game” enabled her to embark on a 15-year college-coaching career that provided many rich and unique experiences. Her coaching career included stops at four outstanding Universities, three as an assistant coach, including: University of California, Santa Barbara; Brigham Young University (Provo); Washington State University; and finally Cal State Fullerton, where she served as the Head Women’s Basketball Coach.
Serving in the capacity of a “Division I Women’s Basketball Coach” opened doors and created many opportunities to lead, teach, empower and encourage youth through the forum of sports. While at UC Santa Barbara, she created the Gaucho Women’s Basketball ‘Community Outreach’ program designed to use basketball as a tool to teach the youth in the community “life lessons” ranging from the importance of staying in school to ‘saying NO to drugs.’ Twenty-six years later this Community Outreach program is still going strong and has been a model for other collegiate teams in all sports who are looking to add more meaning, depth to their program and growth opportunities for their student athletes.
Barbara made the decision to return to Idaho Falls because of her love of the people here, their values and a love of this city and state. Since Barbara’s return, she has been employed at Apple Athletic Club as a manager over Youth Programming. She is also a small business owner where she runs a highly successful travel basketball program for boys; conducts her own hoops camps & clinics; gives private basketball lessons; helps kids with collegiate recruiting opportunities and consults for many of the local high school basketball teams and players.
Politically, Barbara currently serves as a State Representative for District 33A. She is completing her first term after being elected in 2018. She also served on the Idaho Falls City Council, having been elected in 2013.
Barbara has also served as a past President of the Bonneville County Republican Women; was the former President of College Republicans at North Idaho College; has been a precinct officer for many years, including in California; and has worked on countless campaigns in the various places where she has lived, including Governor Butch Otter as well as Bill Simon, who almost beat Gray Davis for Governor of California.
Barbara has also been a highly sought after motivational speaker in many arena’s but primarily with the youth. These speaking engagements have ranged from State Jr. Miss Pageants to the NCAA Final Four “YES” clinics as well as patriotic flag retiring’s. Finally, she has also been an EFY (Especially for Youth) speaker.
Barbara is single and has never married nor had children. However, between her 14 nieces and nephews and the many kids that Barbara has coached, she feels that she has been blessed with many children! In her spare time, Barbara loves to play tennis, bike, Jet Ski and root for her favorite sports teams.
Activities / Services / Honors
· Motivational Speaker: has been a guest speaker for many events ranging from such things as the Miss Washington Pageant; Youth Conferences; Boy Scout Conferences; Self help conferences; sporting events; sport camps; professional seminars; leadership seminars and much more…
· EFY Speaker – Especially for Youth Conference, run through BYU
· Much sought after instructor of flag etiquette & love of country through Flag Retirings; teams up with the Boy Scouts to do this
· Served on the Monticello Montessori School Board
· Served on the Education Foundation Board for School District 91
· Teaches leadership; loves to especially focus on the youth
· Served on Pro Am / Help, Inc. committee
· Served as a District VII Search & Rescue water volunteer
· Served as a “Say No to Drugs” volunteer
· Has served as guest clinician for NCAA “YES” program
· Has served as a Red Cross volunteer
· Actively involved in church & service opportunities
· Owner / Operator – “Coach E’s Camps & Clinics” (basketball)
· Played Junior College basketball at North Idaho where her team played in the National Junior College Athletic Association Tournament in Senatobia, Mississippi
· Played Division I college basketball as a Scholarship Athlete for Idaho State University; served as a team captain
Coached Division I Women’s Basketball 15 years:
· UC Santa Barbara – assistant coach; twice won the Big West Conference & Tournament; team was also nationally ranked / NCAA’s
· Brigham Young University – assistant coach
· Washington State University – assistant coach
· Cal State Fullerton – head coach; received NCAA award for sportsmanship
· Many athletes who have played for Barbara have gone onto to coach or even play professional basketball. One such athlete is Cori Close, the current head women’s basketball coach at UCLA
· Currently serves as the State Representative for District 33A: 2018-2020
· Served on the Idaho Falls City Council: 2014-2018
· Served as the President of the Bonneville County Republican Women
· Served 2 terms as the 1st Vice President of the Bonneville County Republican Women
· Has served on many campaign committees including the committee to re-elect Butch Otter; also served on Bill Simon’s committee when he ran for Governor of California
· Served many times as a Precinct committee person in the places where I have lived, including Orange County, California
· Former President of Young Republicans while at North Idaho Junior College