Nearly everyone in Bay County knows the name Roonie Scovel. She’s in her 21st season as the head coach of the gulf coast Commodores women’s basketball team and is the most successful coach in the school’s history.
”I always knew, I knew in the second grade that I wanted to teach and coach, there was a purpose in my life. But gaining that confidence and believing in who you are and believing in the process that takes time,” Scovel said.
Scovel has almost 600 career wins and has led the Commodores to 18 conference championships, 13 regional championships, and six national championships, but she credits her success to those around her.
“That was family. You stayed humble because if you tried to think a little too highly of yourself, you were reminded very quickly in our family, be appreciative try to be humble. And I’ve tried to do that. And probably my parents, my parents were just the best and wanted the best for us, but I think they taught us to do things the right way,“ Scovel said.
Success didn’t always come easy for her. She had to learn how to believe in herself. Scovel credits her long-time friend and coaching partner Grover Hicks with helping her accomplish her goal.
“I went through a time in coaching, young in my career, that I didn’t have that confidence didn’t have it as a player, I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin, I think that’s the perfect words to describe it. he taught me to be comfortable with who I am as I sit here today, I’m just a coach and I’m comfortable with who I am and what I’ve done,“ Scovel said.
That didn’t happen overnight. But Scovel had many amazing role models to look up to, especially former Tennessee coach Pat Summitt.
“You know everybody wanted to be like Pat, of course, every female in the country who was interested in basketball wanted to be like Pat so that was definitely the inspiration that I wanted to be like Pat. We had some great role models to look up to at that time,“ Scovel said.
Every coach with a long career has a defining moment. For Scovel, that moment was winning her first national championship.
“That’s that moment where gosh all this hard work, we did it. You get to finally say we did it. So probably the first one was defining, but you know every team has their own unique personality. So when people say oh was this one more special than the last one, no because they’re all uniquely special,“ Scovel said.
Unlike many of her colleagues, Scovel says she was lucky she wasn’t treated differently for being a woman in sports.
“I know there was a lot of women that did, but I didn’t. Maybe cause the way I grew up with two brothers and my father was one of these who was you know you girls can be independent and you can do these things. So I’ve never felt like no, not at all, strangely enough, cause people my age did experience that, but fortunately enough I didn’t,“ Scovel said.
One things for sure, Scovel won’t be giving up what she loves to do anytime soon. As long as gulf coast keeps giving her a contract, she says she’ll keep coaching because it’s a part of who she is.