New Gulf Coast women’s basketball coach Cayla Petree plans to build off Scovel’s success

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) – Gulf Coast State College has found their new head women’s basketball coach. Cayla Petree will be taking the reigns from Roonie Scovel and leading the Lady Commodores this season.

“We wanted to hit a home run with this hire and we think we did,” Gulf Coast Athletic Director and head baseball coach Mike Kandler said.

She comes to Gulf Coast with a big resume. She most recently coached at South Plains College in Texas. This past season she led the Lady Texans to a conference and region championship with a 32-1 record. They would have been the No. 2 overall seed in the national tournament if it had happened this year.

The year before she led the Texans to the Elite Eight in the national tournament but fell to Gulf Coast by two points in the quarterfinals.

“If it wasn’t for South Plains College and the resources and support that they’ve given me, there’s no way I would be even in consideration for this Gulf Coast job,” Petree said.

As a head coach, Petree has an overall record of 226-96. Her record with the Texans is 127-35. She’s also picked up some pretty big accolades in the last few years as well.

“Coach Scovel has been a national coach of the year many many times, well the most recent national coach of the year is Cayla Petree, she was that this year so,” Kandler said.

Petree said it was a no brainer for her to take the job at Gulf Coast because it’s one of the top programs in the country.

“It’s just unbelievable and respected nationally. I just told people that if it’s possible to be challenged, humble and excited all in one, that’s me,” Petree said.

Petree said she hopes to learn as much from Scovel as she can so that the Commodores are as successful as they can be moving forward.

“The only thing negative that’s been said is you don’t want to be the one that follows Coach Scovel, you can’t live up to that,” Petree said. “My response has been the same, I tell everybody, the great news is we are on the same team. We want to hang banner number 7, we want Gulf Coast to win the national championship. I don’t have to beat her, we just want to do great things.”

Petree has already begun to recruit for the upcoming season. She is currently still in Texas, working from home until things get back to normal.

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