695HOOPS WHERE IT'S ALWAYS ALL ABOUT THE GIRLS
I caught up to Milford Mill's "Coach Mac" recently and she schooled me on coaching in Baltimore County for 14 years, how she got started, and what to expect this season. It is easy to see why she is one of the most respected and tenured coaches in the area.
695: Tell me about your playing career...
Coach: I played high school ball for Milford Mill 1990-93. My mother was very strict about grades and would not let me play in 9th grade because I got a C in G.T. Biology. I walked on to the team at Morgan and played 1 season for coach Powell and my second season for coach Donald Williams (when coach Powell was suspended for NCAA violations). I was on academic scholarship and fell a year behind so I gave up playing in college.
695: Tell me about your coaching career…
Coach: I began coaching at 20. I used to coach players from Milford and Woodlawn in the summer. The team was called Millwood. We used to play in Project Survival, Each One Teach One Easter Leagues, and BNBL at Lake Clifton.
After winning a couple of those leagues, a parent (Robin Banjo) recruited me to coach for the Hurricanes. I had the “B” team that included Jessica Anger (Towson b-ball assistant, Terra Woven (former Mt. Hebron standout), Katie Dempsey (Arundel jv/assistant).
Milford’s j.v. coach, Angel Webb, got married, moved out of the country, and I was hired the following season. In addition to coaching basketball, I’ve coached the jv and varsity Volleyball and Softball teams at Milford as well as Varsity Volleyball and Softball at Woodlawn
Because of issues with the Hurricane organization and my high school program, I began coaching with the Baltimore Cougars with coaches like Selby, Donchez Graham, Cheryl McCormick, Sandy Hale, Tony Kennedy, and John Lucky to name a few. I also coached two summers for Team Melo.
I’ve been coaching at Milford for 14 years. This will be my 7th season as the Varsity head coach.
695: Who is your biggest influence on your style and philosophy?
Coach: My experiences as a teacher, player, partnerships and mentoring from people I have coached with, and studying the game have greatly influenced my style and philosophy. I try to reflect on what I liked and didn’t like in every experience. If I had to name one coach, I would say Vivian Stringer exemplifies everything I would like to be as a coach.
695: What do you teach at Milford Mill?
Coach: I currently teach I.B. (International Baccalaureate) Biology, Honors Biology, and Conceptual Problems in Biology (C.P.I.B.). I previously taught Forensic Science, which I love, and Earth/Space Science
695: What do you think of the direction of girls basketball in the area overall?
Coach: Basketball in the area for girls has changed tremendously. Everything is extremely political and cyclic. In some ways it is good for the game in others not so much. Talented players no longer stay at “home”, but choose to go to non-zone, private, or catholic schools. There is too much movement and a lack of loyalty in the game. If kids are choosing to go to a school for the academics, fine. But if the choice is made solely based on basketball, I would think twice. Besides, I don’t get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the politics. I’d rather coach from scratch so to speak, then to sell my soul to the devil. Coaching is not taking a group of all stars and putting them on the floor-although having some is a plus-its developing the person, the player, the citizen.
695: How do you feel about your team this year? Who are some key players?
Coach: I am excited! I have a great group of 9th and 10th graders and very hungry upperclassmen. I like it when people overlook my team and don’t recognize them by name. It makes for any exciting game. I can say that our bench this year will be key. We can go further down the bench this year then the last couple of seasons. I am looking forward to this season’s quest to win our 2nd Girls basketball state championship.
695: Who is on your staff this year?
Coach: Brian Johnson, Candyce Jeter and Tamika Rogers. Both of their younger sisters played on my state championship team and they played at milford as well.
695: Do you encourage your girls to play AAU?
Coach: I love AAU when the AAU team/coaches help improve the player and they respect the skills taught by the high school coach and understand the role of the player on the high school team. I think that AAU coaches and high school coaches should work together for the betterment of the child, not for personal agendas and motives. Last summer I took a break from coaching AAU to work on my Masters degree in Educational Administration. This summer I will be running a camp.
695: What are the challenges of coaching a high school team in Baltimore County?
Coach: We don’t get the proper respect because we are the county. Talent that is recognition worthy is ignored. We are losing talent because parents are buying into the hype and don’t research for themselves the excellent academic program offerings of the county schools. At Milford, we have I.B., state recognized magnet and technical programs, and performing arts, choral and band programs.
695: What do you do to stay sharp and improve your coaching skills?
Coach: I grew up in a house where basketball was always on the t.v. My dad is a Duke fan and my mother loves North Carolina. So it is normal for me and my husband to have ESPN channels, NBA TV, TNT, CSN channels, and live and taped NCAA games on. I am a basketball junky and watch any and everything I can. I always see something I might be able to use. I also attend coaches clinics, subscribe to HoopsU.com, get information from eTeamz.com, ESPN Rise, network with other coaches. My assistant and I both have massive basketball libraries.
695: What do you think about Lebron signing with the Heat and do you think they can win it?
Coach: Get off his back! Let LeBron do LeBron! Every exceptional player has to find their own way to their own greatness. The media and the fans put their own expectations on him. LeBron didn’t let anybody down; those that hyped him up got caught up in the hype. I thing with time and maturity, and a couple more pieces, the Heat can win a couple.
695: Thanks Coach, it's been a pleasure.
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