An established high school girls basketball coach in North Carolina has been tabbed to also lead her campus’ boys basketball team beginning with the 2019-20 season.
As reported by the High Country Press of Boone, N.C., Watauga (N.C.) High School girls basketball coach Laura Barry has been hired to serve as the Watauga boys basketball coach starting in fall 2019. The coach will remain as the girls basketball coach as well, leaving her with a very full plate.
A former North Carolina women’s basketball player, Barry has spent three seasons as the Watauga girls coach, and in 2018-19 led the program to a 22-5 record. In addition to her high school coaching experience, Barry also served as an assistant coach at East Tennessee State University, St, John’s and Allegheny College.
While leading both a girls and boys basketball program simultaneously might seem overwhelming, Watauga principal Chris Blanton expressed utter confidence that Barry would successfully adapt to her new roles.
“We are looking forward to Coach Barry taking on her new position,” Blanton told the High Country Press. “She is an extremely dedicated and highly qualified coach who has proven her expertise and ability at the high school and collegiate levels. I am excited about the future of the program under her leadership. We couldn’t be happier for her to take on this new role.”
Barry isn’t the first to simultaneously lead both a school’s girls and boy’s basketball programs, but she’s quite the rarity. If she proves to be successful, that would place her as almost one of a kind, a woman successful in a man’s field, coaching men … while also coaching women.
“For me personally, it isn’t a barrier,” Barry told the Watauga Democrat. “As far as coaching guys and girls I think there are differences, but I don’t think there is any oddness or challenge off the top from my angle. For the guys, some of them may have never been coached by a female, so they’ll have to get used to a little different voice, but I don’t think it will take them long. I’ve got a lot of faith in them that they’ll be excited just to be coached hard. Any good player wants to be coached and I told them that I promised to do that and to push them and I think that’s what they want.
“I’m not worried. I think it will be a stretch in a new direction. There will be a lot more on my plate than last year. I think that will be the harder part for both of these groups of kids to swallow than my gender. … I told the guys that I wouldn’t have taken this on and standing in front of you if I didn’t think we could do it,” Barry added. “I have confidence that it will be great for everyone involved. It’s going to take a lot more time on my part, but it’s a lot of business as usual with everybody else in the program.”