695HOOPS WHERE IT'S ALWAYS ALL ABOUT THE GIRLS
Western's head coach Tiffany Silver took a few moments to answer some questions for 695Hoops. Coach T talked about coaching at the high school where she won a title as a player and how she got started as a coach. After coming close last year she is determined to lead the Doves back to the final four to close the deal.
695: Tell me about your playing career...
Coach: I started playing sports (track, baseball) at 5. I didn't begin playing basketball until I was 13 with the Baltimore Cougars (Coach Selby). At 14 I was a freshman at Western, made the varsity team and was a part of the #7 ranked team in the nation, we went 27-0 and won the school's last state championship in basketball. The team was led by 6 division 1 bound seniors. I finished my playing career at UMBC.
695: Where did you grow up?
Coach: I was born in Baltimore and lived here until the age of 7 at which time I moved to Ohio and returned to Baltimore at age 10. I have resided in Northeast Baltimore since then.
695: Tell me about your coaching career...
Coach: While playing at UMBC, Ms. Bishop, asked me to coach her middle school team in Cherry Hill. It was 1999 and I was 19. I led the Arnett J. Brown middle school team (which became Southside Academy) to the teams first championship in our first year of existence. I absolutely fell in love with coaching and decided that it was something I wanted to pursue.
For the 2000-2001 I was set to be an assistant coach at Notre Dame Prep and which time the head Coach told me that he heard Friends School was looking for a head coach. He said, "I don't want to lose you or coach against you but I don't want to hold you back either." That statement meant so much to me. I applied for the job and interviewed with AD Jon Garman. Jon became one of my biggest fans and was extremely supportive of me. He actually gave me the name "Coach T." Being that I was only 20 he said my oldest player was only 2 years younger than me and "Coach Silver" just sounded too old. I coached varsity basketball at Friends for 2 seasons.
From there I went to Towson Catholic from 2002-2005. Dave Owens, not at SFA, brought me to TC. He was second #1 fan and supported me in every endeavor and was very passionate about building a program. In that time frame we went from the C conference to the A conference in 2 years. We took our hits early but my staff, my girls and I were able to rebuild that program. We received the teams first metro area ranking in over 25 years.
From 2005- present I came back home to Western. I Love being at Western!! It feels so good to be where it all started for me. Our goal continues to be to produce strong academically and athletic young ladies and to get them into college. So far we have had a 100% college acceptance and we are more proud of that than anything.
695: Who is th biggest influence on your coachng style and philosophy?
Coach: None other than the legendary Coach Breezy Bishop. I have honestly pulled from every coach I have ever had. From Wardell Selby (Dunbar), Scott Buckley (RPCS) and I have found a way to make my style my own. I believe discipline & fundamentals are paramount.
695: What do you do to stay sharp and improve your skills as a coach?
Coach: I go to coaching clinics every year and I talk to other coaches. I have alot of respect for many coaches in the Baltimore Area and I am constantly picking their brains. I also have made many connections with various college coaches and they are always able to provide me with great insight.
695: Who do you have on your staff now and how did you assemble them?
Coach: Chris Burley has been with me since my 2nd year at Friends. He use to sit behind my bench and just watch and one day I asked him do you want to help and he said yes. He has been my backbone through everything and has supported me through everything. Chris went to Cardinal Gibbons (Football & Basketball) with my brother and he and I became best friends and now we are family. Lil Drumgold and I have been friends since I was a senior and she was a freshman at Western. She went on to play Div I ball for UNCW and Bucknell. She joined the staff fulltime once she graduated. My newest assistant is Damien Myers, who teaches at Western. He is from California and is a Medical Doctor. Damien also played College basketball. I chose Damien because he expressed interest, wasn't from the area and just genuinely wanted to be a part of the staff and he new nothing about the team.
695: What do you think of the overall direction of girls basketball in the area?
Coach: I love the level of play for high school basketball in this area. More teams are competing day in and day out and the girls are getting so much better and getting better exposure. Coaches are caring and teaching.
695: Talk about this year's team for a moment...
Coach:I love my team this year. I really like my girls, I like their personalities and they are so open to learning. The parents are supportive and positive which is huge in order for a team to be successful.
695: How difficult is it to put together a successful event like the Breezy Bishop?
Coach:Very difficult, but the outcome and the purpose makes it worth the ride!! We started the event because at the time Baltimore City had travel restrictions and we figured, if we couldn't travel to top competition than we would bring the competition to Baltimore. We also felt that Baltimore had and has alot of talent that didn't get national recognition and we wanted to change that. My mother, Bertina Silver, is the driving force behind this event and it wouldn't be possible without her. We have grown from 10 teams to 33 teams in 5 years with major national press. Our (all schools) children are getting great opportunities to sell themselves and go to school for free. Its why we do what we do.
695: How do you select which teams get in or do you accomodate all? Do you see it getting to the point where you turn down teams that are weak or can't compete?
Coach: We allow any caliber team to apply to participate and they select which of the 3 days they would like to play. So far we haven't had to turn down many teams and if we have it's been due to being filled to capacity. Every year the showcase is getting more competitive and yes the teams are also, so it may come to a point where teams may get turned away due to level of play. However, up to this point we have been able to provide a competitive match-up for all the different competition levels involved and we want to continue to give all teams an opportunity to showcase their talents.
695: Watching last year's game against Seneca Valley was frustrating for us Baltimore fans. It was so close. Can you talk about that second half and being in that situation? Do you second guess anything?
Coach: The only thing I would have done differently is to WIN!
695: How do you bounce back from that and get your returning players to do so as well?
Coach: We bounce back as we have always done. In my time at Western we have blessed to make it th the final four every year. Although we have not clinched that title we have made it there and the late Mr. Lang (athletic director) always told me after each season ending loss, "You can't win it if you don't at least make it there."
695: What do you do besides coach?
Coach: I play competitive softball up and down the east coast. I am an outfielder and I just love being a competitor. I also love to go watch my girls play and be a fan in the summer. Cheer them on, no critiques unless they ask (laughing).
695: Thanks and good luck this season.
Coach: Thanks for the honor.
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