Oct. 4, 2012
Kellie Lewis-Jay has led many practices during her career as a women’s basketball coach. However, Tuesday was the first day she was in charge of a team as head coach.
“Honestly, it didn’t feel any different, since I had operated practice many times as an assistant coach at the University of Nebraska,” said Lewis-Jay, named the program’s fourth head coach in May. “We have had individual sessions with players for the past few weeks. Tuesday was our first practice as a team.”
The Owls are coming off a 17-win season which included a trip to the Women’s National Invitational Tournament – the program’s first postseason appearance since 2006. The team returns several key parts from last year’s team, including all-conference performer Chenise Miller, while Breana Turner returns to the court after sitting out a year because of a preseason injury. Read more about the start of practice and some of the key players for this upcoming season here.
“We have experience, but everyone – old and young – is making the adjustment to a new playing style, new coaching terminologies and new players,” said Lewis-Jay.
The new coaching staff hit the recruiting trail hard since being assembled during the summer. They brought in six versatile and talented players from the junior/community college ranks and high school to roster. See the roster here.
Lewis-Jay isn’t the only fresh face in the Sun Belt Conference. The league will have five first-year head coaches this winter. She is looking forward to the challenges ahead.
“The biggest adjustment as a head coach is setting the short- and long-term visions for your program. I have had to get everyone – players and coaches – on the same page,” noted Lewis-Jay. “Recruiting has been a major focus of our efforts. I also have had to get the players to understand the expectations that are part of being a successful program. The building blocks are there to have a successful program. It just takes a lot of hard work to get there.”
The blood, sweat and tears began on Tuesday in the Burrow.
The Owls will get their first test of the 2012-13 season with a home exhibition game against Trinity Baptist on Saturday, November 3, at 2 p.m. The team opens the regular-season at Georgia Southern University on Friday, November 9, at 8:30 p.m. To view the entire schedule click here.