Donna Polk returns to the Indian River School District with vast athletic experience. Polk played three sports at Sussex Central before going to college across the bridge, where she continued playing softball and basketball. After college, she coach at Bowie High School, her alma mater and Bowie State, while holding various athletic titles.
She’s trying to turn the Indian River program the only way she knows how — hard work.
Talk about your background in basketball and journey to Indian River?
I’m from Delaware and went to Sussex Central High School. I graduated from there as a three-sport athlete, field hockey, basketball and softball. I had a great time there and went on to Columbia Union College, a small Christian school in Maryland, playing basketball and softball.
After that I played a lot of travel softball, so I still have the competition bug in my system. Got into coaching basketball at Bowie High School (in Bowie, Maryland). One of my teammates was the coach and she asked me to help her out. That’s how I got into athletics and it was a good thing. I was a Bowie High School coach, JV one year and two years on varsity.
Now I’m home in Delaware since May.
What’s the most exicting thing about being back?
The best thing is being next to my family. I’ve been gone since 1988, consistently being home here and there but just being home with my mom. To be here with my family is the best thing. It’s not a lot to get used to because I’m used to it. It is good being back home for that reason.
What are some of the things, with all of your experience, that you can bring to the Indian River girls program?
One of the things is trying to improve their level of thinking about basketball. It’s not about just coming here and playing, but then trying to learn the game through a lot of fundamentals, trying to get them to understand the intensity of what you need to do day in and day out to play and be able to compete.
You’re from Delaware, but how do you see the rest of the Henlopen with fresh eyes?
From what I hear, it could be open in the south. I know that there are some teams that are going to be a challenge for us. We’re young. No seniors and three juniors. The rest are sophomore and freshmen so we’re very young and inexperienced. The best thing about them is they’re willing to learn and willing to play hard.
What will be the most exciting thing about the team this year?
The fact that they get excited when they’re able to do something new that they didn’t think they could do and seeing it done in the scrimmage – it’s like a lightbulb. You see the lightbulb go off in their head like, “Oh, I get it now.”
When you were a player, and now as a coach, what was the thing you loved most about basketball?
Back in college, playing with my teammates and developing a relationship with them. Being able to push each other to get better. I was able to score my 1,000th point in college, so that was a good thing to be able to experience with my teammates. But for me, it was the long-lasting friendships.
On Twitter/Instagram: @ByRyanMarshall