PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) – There may still be a few months until the JUCO basketball season starts, but the Panhandle coaches are still working hard in the offseason.
The new Gulf Coast women’s basketball coach Cayla Petree is trying to fill the last few spots on the roster before the school year begins.
However, it’s been a really strange for her, coming to a new school and having to deal with a whole new way of recruiting.
“A couple of challenges with the NCAA changing their requirements to get into school kinda affected our recruiting a bit along with the border situation, kinda affected if we can recruit international students,” Petree said. “So a couple little hurdles we had to jump through that we haven’t had to in the past but there is still a lot of great players out there.”
Petree said it’s also weird that she hasn’t been able to meet any of her players in person due to the pandemic.
“It’s been a completely new process in recruiting and just getting to know the returners. I mean we can Zoom and we can talk on the phone, we text, we operate through all forms of social media , there’s a million different ways to communicate,” Petree said. “We’ve done them all, but just to put my arm around them and give them a hug and say ‘I’m happy to be your coach.’ We haven’t gotten to do that yet.”
Coach Petree has been in the head coaching position for a few months now and she said the other Panhandle conference coaches have already welcomed her to the area.
They are also getting some friendly competition in before the season has even begun.
“I feel like I’m very aggressive in recruiting and just every time, well who else are you talking to and they are naming the other Panhandle schools,” Petree said. “So we are already battling out and they are good friends of mine and we talk friendly banter and go back and forth, bit it’s all in fun and we are excited to play each other in fall.”
The Commodores will get on the court a bit earlier this year on September 14. The athletes will be back on campus in the next few weeks.