A New Look

It’s been a different and, at times, challenging off-season for veteran Georgetown High School girls basketball coach Rhonda Farney. Two assistant coaches with a combined 52 years of experience—Kellye Richardson and Kristin Curtis—resigned to take their personal and professional lives in different directions.”You don’t replace Kellye and Kristin,” Farney said as she discussed the recent hiring of two young female coaches—Tosha Doherty and Katie Youngblood—to fill those positions on the four-person coaching staff of one of the state’s most-successful programs over the past 30-plus seasons.

Kevin Spruill, who is starting his third season with the Lady Eagles, is son of long-time GHS coach Butch Spruill and also a veteran of 10 years coaching on the boys side at Forbes. He was added to the Lady Eagle basketball staff in 2016 as a replacement for Jordan Ramey, who was named the head coach at Leander Glenn. Completing Farney’s realigned staff is Doherty, a  player on a state championship team during her days at Tuscola Jim Ned. She will move up from Forbes Middle School and Youngblood, a former standout point guard for the Lady Eagles, will leave private business to quench a lengthy desire to coach—especially at her alma mater. Youngblood also was the president of the Lady Eagle Booster Club and Girls Little Dribblers for the past two years. Spruill, who has coached the Freshman White team each of the past two seasons, will move up to replace Richardson as the JV coach and will be one of the varsity assistants. A physical-fitness and weight-room guru, he will remain in charge of the Lady Eagle conditioning program. Doherty and Youngblood will share the coaching duties for the school’s two freshman teams along with responsibilities as varsity assistants. Farney said she was not designating head coaches for the Freshman Blue and White teams; both coaches will coach both teams.

Farney admitted the resignations of two valued assistants in a short time period at the close of the 2017-2018 season knocked her for somewhat of a loop, but added that the energy and enthusiasm of Doherty and Youngblood quickly had her looking forward to a season that is expected to bring GHS its 30th consecutive 20-win season and 29th straight trip to the University Interscholastic League State Playoffs. There were special attachments for Farney to both former assistants. Richardson, who played at Pampa High School in the Panhandle and Texas Tech, came to Georgetown at the same time as Farney in the fall of 1988. Curtis played her high school basketball at GHS, graduating in the spring of 1988, and going on to a record-setting career at Tarleton State.

“I’m pretty excited about the upcoming season,” Farney said. “We’ve had a good spring on the court and have made excellent progress on decision making with the ball. Also, our players who sustained injuries during the season and off-season are rehabbing and ahead of schedule. “At first, the resignations had a real effect on me. You don’t replace Kellye and Kristin. They had given 52 combined years to our program. But my husband (Dr. Bill Farney) helped me realize that I was being very selfish. When I finally stopped trying to fix everything and stepped back and turned it over to the Lord, things began to fall into place. I’m very appreciative that we have stellar support from our GHS principal Wes Vanicek and athletic director Todd York. I’m looking forward to the season. We have players and coaches in place who can make this a very exciting season.”It will be a different season—at least as far as scheduling. The Lady Eagles will move from a nine-team District 19-5A into a seven-school alignment, District 18-5A, with East View, Bastrop, Bastrop Cedar Creek, Elgin, Hutto and Manor. This will reduce the number of district games from 16 to 12 and allow GHS to play four addition non-district games.

 

Farney’s Take On Her Current Staff:

Katie Youngblood:

High School: GHS Graduate played for the 6A State basketball title her junior year and was named first-team all-district as a senior.

College: Played basketball at Loyola of New Orleans as a freshman.

Undergraduate Degree: Concordia University (2016) BA with a concentration in Management. Teacher Certification: Completed state alternative program, Teach Texas, and was officially hired at Monday, July 9, board meeting.

Coaching Experience: Little Dribblers, Journey club coach, GHS varsity team coach for open recruitment weekend the past two years. Teaching Assignment: Health. Second Sport: Track.

“Katie has always had a desire to coach and comes from one of the most supportive Lady Eagle families ever. . . . Katie brings a fiery personality to the program—much like Kristin. . . . Having been our point guard, she knows our offense, outside in and understands, firsthand, what it means to have a bullseye on your back every time you step on the court. Basically, she knows what it means to be a Lady Eagle. . . . She made a remarkable effort to complete the alternative certification process in a short period of time.”

 

Tosha Doherty:

High School: Tuscola Jim Ned.

Undergraduate Degree: Texas Tech  (B.S. in Exercise Sport Science and Secondary Education)

Masters Degree: Wayland Baptist (M. ED. Sports Management and Administration)

Coaching Experience: GA at Wayland Baptist, three years at Forbes where she coached cross country, track and girls basketball. GHS Teaching Assignment: Special Education. Second Sport: Assistant cross country.

“She’s very detail oriented and a hard worker as well as technologically savvy. . . .She’s already hit the ground running, digitizing our playbook and revamping our website. . . .Tosha had a stellar record at Forbes as both a coach and teacher. . . .She’s a West Texas girl and very family-oriented. . . .She played for an outstanding high school coach and has been associated with winning programs, being apart of Jim Ned’s 2008 State champion basketball team and working at Wayland. . . . “The fact that she worked at Wayland and was recommended by my best friend Melynn Hunt, speaks volumes to me and she has worked with two outstanding coaches—coach Mike Cavender and coach Kristy Schreiber—the past three years, too. “

 

Kevin Spruill:

High School: GHS graduate, played football, basketball and “dabbled” in track.

Undergraduate Degree: Texas State University (B.S. in Exercise Sports Science)

Teacher Certification: 2006.

Coaching Experience: 10 years at Forbes, 2 years at GHS. Teaching Assignment: AP Geography. Second Sport: Track.

“After the resignations this spring, Kevin and I sat down and had a very productive talk. I realized he’s been waiting his time. . . .being a sponge and learning from three female coaches with a combined 95 years of basketball coaching experience. . . .He’s done a tremendous job with our strength and condition program. The kids can see that he believes in and lives what he preaches. . . . He and I will plan our varsity practices and he will run the gym. This will give me time to work with every player individually during a practice. . . . He’s very positive with the kids and brings a great work ethic. . . . Because of our injury problems this past year, we depended on our excellent strength and conditioning program to keep us in many games. No team was in better shape or stronger than we were.”

 

What The Assistant Coaches Said:

Doherty—“I’m ready to dive in. . . . Our style in high school, under coach Jimmy Avery, was very similar to what coach Farney does. We’re going to work hard and get after it every day. . . . I worked with the post players and defense at WBU. I believe in the saying, ‘offense sells tickets, but defense wins championships’. . . . I’m thankful for this opportunity. I’m ready to get started and understand Eagle Fight Never Dies.” “We have a really good incoming freshmen group and I’m looking forward to working with them. I’m really excited about what the future holds.”

Youngblood—“Actually, I first started in the program in 2001 when I was a ball girl. . . . I think my enthusiasm and experience in the program will be key factors for me. . . . I want to meet the expectations of the players in the program and get through to all the kids how to perform in a successful program. . . . I won’t be soft because we will expect excellence in all we do. . . . I learned first hand that it’s always best in this program to do things right the first time. . . .I’m looking forward to working hard and sharing my Lady Eagle playing experiences with our players.”

Spruill—“I think the attention to detail is the difference between us and other programs. We are better prepared and drilled for everything we can face in a game. . . . My goal is to help our young ladies develop into good, productive people. . . . I’m really excited about where the program is, where I am, and where we are going.”

 

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