MURFREESBORO – Randy Coffman roamed the sidelines at Murphy Center Thursday.
The first-year Riverdale girls basketball coach pointed to players and shouted out orders throughout what would be a rout of Warren County in a MTSU team camp contest. He occasional motioned players over, giving a few words of instruction.
But one thing was obvious.
This is his Lady Warrior squad.
The third Riverdale girls basketball coach in four years, who came to the ‘Boro after 17 years at Dyersburg, has already put his thumbprint on the team.
“At first we were kind of sketchy about how things were going to go,” Riverdale rising senior Caroline Patrick said. “But he is very fundamentally sound. It’s been a really smooth transition.
“He has everything down to where everything is specific. We’re adapting well to it — down to our passing, shooting and running wide lanes.”
Coffman replaced former coach Cory Barrett, who is now the Lebanon girls coach.
He enters a season when the Lady Warriors are one of the early favorites to win the Class AAA state title with leading scorers Anastasia Hayes, Alexis Whittington, Brinae Alexander and Caroline Patrick.
Of course, two-time defending state champion Blackman and last year’s runner-up Oakland are also likely in that conversation.
“We are three weeks into this journey,” Coffman said. “The thing is we have a coaching staff that is sold out and committed to basketball, and we have a group of players sold out and committed. When you both share that passion, you are going to get work done.
“But in our district, there are a lot of teams that will be good this year. There are some great programs in our league alone. We just want to improve as we go forward, and let the other stuff take care of itself.”
Hayes, a two-sport athlete at the school, has raved about the changes Coffman has implemented.
“It was a big change for us, getting a new coach,” Hayes said. “But I’m really starting to like it.”
Hayes, a speedy point guard who earned state medals in the 100-meter dash, 200 and 400 in last month’s TSSAA Class AAA state track and field meet may be one of the big benefactors to the team’s offensive changes, which include looking for the 3-point shot in transition while also being in a set half-court offense.
“We want to shoot threes, instead of just going in for layups all the time,” said Hayes, who has college offers from Kentucky, Ohio State and Ole Miss.”
Alexander, who had a key role last year as a freshman, said the team has adjusted to a new offense.
She said the focus on fundamentals has also been a plus for her.
“It was more like we were always expected to know it, instead of being taught,” Alexander said. “It’s helped. A lot of girls have learned a lot of new stuff in the couple practices we’ve had.”
Contact Tom Kreager at 615-278-5168 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @Kreager.