After three years as an assistant, Kate Coates will now take the reins as head coach of the Stephen Decatur basketball team that won the Bayside Championship last season.
Coates, 26, is a fifth grade teacher and grew up in Ocean Pines.
How did you get into basketball and coaching?
One Christmas we got a basketball hoop for a gift, and my dad assembled and we just lived out in the driveway. As a kid whenever we had free (time), neighbors, my siblings, we were always just shooting around. I just developed a love for the game. I grew up playing it, all different levels. After high school I went off and played in college.
I’ve been fortunate with coaches and I think that’s what really inspired me to become a coach as well — just seeing their love for us as players, their love and their passion for the game.
How lucky are you to walk into this talented of a team and what are some new things you’re going to try?
I’m really lucky that I’ve been able to spend the past three years (as an assistant) with the same team. I’m really familiar with a lot of them, but after losing five seniors from last year’s team it’s really cool to see Dayona (Godwin) and Lexi (VanKirk) and some of the girls who have been underclassmen really take on those leadership roles and try to guide these new girls, showing them how Decatur basketball is played.
What is going to be the most exciting thing about Decatur basketball this season?
I think just with each game getting better. Half our team is returning but the other half is brand new. Mixing these newer players with the more veteran players and just getting better with each day at practice and each game. I’m excited to watch us grow, really.
What’s it like to coach a player like Dayona Godwin, who has so much potential?
It’s fun but it’s also a challenge because she has so much knowledge about the game and she has so many of the great skills. It’s a challenge on behalf of the coach because you want to continue to push her to be better. Working at practice on some of the individual things, but also she’s taken on such a leadership and she has the drive. With each year, that drive has grown and she wants to be a leader.
What was the thing you loved most about basketball when you were playing, as opposed to now as coaching?
I think it’s the same as when I was a player as it is now: it’s the camaraderie of the team. Basketball is such a long season, and we truly become a family. That’s really what I loved about playing sports as a child, being with your sisters.
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