PDT Sports Writer
WEST PORTSMOUTH — The immediate move from player to coach is not unusual in the world of basketball.
Earlier this summer, Jason Kidd retired from the NBA as a player and almost immediately, he was hired as the head coach of the Brooklyn Nets. On a smaller scale, Kayla Wiley will make the same move as she goes from Shawnee State women’s basketball player to the head girls basketball coach at West High School. She replaces Greg Maynard, who took the Senators last season to the first district finals appearance in school history.
“Transition-wise, yeah it’ll be different because I’m not a player but on the bench, you help your coach out with coaching as well,” Wiley said.
Basketball has been a part of Wiley’s life since she was in grade school. One of the reasons she wanted to coach was because she wants to give back to the sport as well as the community for teaching her the game.
Wiley as was a three-time Division IV All-Ohioan and 1,000-point scorer at New Boston before she graduated in 2009 and went on to play collegiately for the Bears. During her four years, Shawnee State was 108-33 and qualified every year for the NAIA national tournament. The Bears played in the 2010 NAIA Division II National Championship game.
Playing under former SSU coach Robin Hagen-Smith, Wiley learned that respect between the players and the coaches is very important.
One advantage for Wiley taking over the Senators will be her familiarity with the program as another Scioto County school.
“(Knowing) what competition they are playing against helps me a lot,” Wiley said. “…I’m not here to change everything, they have a foundation. I’m just here to keep the things that work and change the things that don’t.”
West will replace six seniors off last year’s 14-12 campaign. The headliner of last year’s senior class was Tori Leader, who became the first Senator girls basketball player to accumulate 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds for a career and signed to play for NCAA Division II Ohio Dominican.
If there’s anything Wiley wants to call this season, she doesn’t want to call it a rebuilding year. West could have up to five returners with previous significant varsity experience.
Defensively, Wiley will be use man-to-man principles but is willing to change for certain situations. Offensively, the style will be dictated by personnel.
The Senators have not been able to field a junior varsity program in recent memory. Wiley wants that trend to change.
Wiley will have Allison Nagle on the staff as an assistant. Nagle, a 2009 graduate of Milford High School, was Wiley’s college teammate for four years and currently plays on the Bears women’s soccer team.
West begins the season Nov. 25 with a home SOC II game against defending champion Wheelersburg.
Cody Leist can be reached at 353-3101, ext. 294, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking sports news, follow Cody on Twitter @CodyLeist.