Updated: Jun 12, 2020
Continuing our attempt to highlight OUR coaches in Louisiana we caught up Coach McClure from Zachary. Coach McClure has coached at two of the top programs in the state the past twenty years and she's brought Zachary back to being a contender in 5A year in year out! She's sent countless girls on to the next level and her teams are successful both on and off the court. In the coaching profession we don't see that many 20 year coaches these days... Thanks coach for all you've done for our game during that time and we look forward to many more! Below is our Q&A:
Your team had another successful season winning 25 plus games and making a deep run in the playoffs. Can you talk about your team from this past year and how proud you were of them?
20 years of coaching this has to be one of my top 5 favorite teams to coach this past season. When you take over a program which I did 4 years ago, it is a process of getting them to buy into your philosophies, rules and regulations of how you want your program run. We went through a lot of up’s and downs understanding team basketball and what the roles were of everyone on the team. The difference with this team this year they finally bought in and believed in the process. A lot of hard work these girls put into the weight room, conditioning and especially on and off the court. Most importantly the trust and enjoyment these girls had in each other on the court and off the court led them to an amazing season that none of us wanted to see end.
Moving into the 2020-21 season your team loses three girls that will continue playing at the college level (Allen, Cummings, Green) how excited are you about the opportunities for next year’s team your younger players many may not know about?
It is tough to lose three quality players like those three ladies. The strong work ethic that my program has and the girls I have returning for next year, I am looking forward to the challenge that we have ahead of us. I am looking forward to seeing who will step up and take on the different roles that need to be filled for next year. Hopefully the girls that are returning will build off the season from last year, they learned that hard work really does pay off, and buying into the team work will have its benefits in the end.
With 20 years of coaching experience in Louisiana girls’ basketball how have things changed along the way?
When I first moved here back in 2001 from Massachusetts we played 2 halves and had a shot clock up in Massachusetts. When I got down here and found out Louisiana was playing 4 quarters, felt like I went back in time. The playoff bracket was already pre-determined, I thought that was insane. Then they switched to seeding by the coaches which actual at this point anything was better then what they had. The coaches did a good job in the seeding process. Next on the horizon was the power ranking system which has gone through a few different formulas. Then came the split which I will never understand and I have coached both at private and now public, who does not want to play the best of the best when competing for a championship in their classification, I hate what it has done to basketball.
What led you to choose teaching and coaching as your profession? Who are some mentors that have help you become the coach you are today?
What lead me to coaching was my college coach who verbally and mentally abused us for the 4 years that I was in college. She would keep us in the locker room on the road or at home for over an hour just degrading us. Those moments led me to what I do today because I never wanted to coach or teach. I told myself this is not the way any athlete should be treated.
My main mentor is my dad Kenneth Reynolds, I got to see the end of his professional baseball career, he was drafted by the Phillies in 1968 as a left-handed pitcher. When he retired, he became a high school PE teacher and the Head baseball coach at Marlboro High School. My dad is very soft spoken but when he speaks everyone listens, captivates an audience. I was in awe when I would watch him coach and what he got out of every player on his team. He had so much patience, and he had a quiet confidence to himself that his team took on that confidence and his mentality. He kept everything simple and got results quickly from his team. He always said there is no fake hustle, make the plays you are supposed to make and everything else will take care of itself.
Do you have any advice to a younger coach in terms of what makes a good coach?
If you are getting into coaching, make sure you are getting into it because you love the game. Focus and make an everlasting impact that is larger than championships. Teach the players how to sacrifice, how to be unselfish, how to work hard and how to be positive. Most importantly you must have patience!!!
I ask this question to all the coaches I interview. What do you feel are some ways that Louisiana can improve the girl’s basketball moving forward? What do you feel really works and made you glad to be a coach in Louisiana?
Louisiana can improve the girl’s basketball moving forward by implementing some rules on the lower level (middle school, aau) that would make the coaches have to teach the fundamentals of the game. Example: Man to man defense only, no double teams, no full court press, not allowed to take the ball directly from the person you are guarding, these would free up offensive strategy.
What I think really works right now is the power ranking system and coaches working together during the season with the tournaments they host making sure that teams don’t end up playing the same teams they may face during the season in district or at another tournament.
What would you like to see implemented to assist young girls develop prior to high school? What are things middle school kids need to know or should be working on to prepare for the high school level?
You can tie these two questions into one, it all goes back to fundamental base. A lot of the girls I have seen over the past 20 years lack the fundamentals when they transition into High School. Youth programs, AAU and especially the middle school programs are key to the young girl’s development before they get to High School. One mistake a lot of youth, aau and middle school programs put their emphasis on winning instead of the development of the athlete. The mindset in whichever program you go through before you reach High School should be in the development of the athlete through having a solid fundamental base. My first advice to a middle school player is go watch the high school team play, see what they run on offense and defense, how is the program run that I will be playing in when I leave the middle school. Second the areas of fundamentals that a lot of players lack when making the transition to high school basketball: be able to make lay ups left and right, develop great footwork for shooting, passing, getting open, dribble moves, perimeter moves and post moves. Third do what you do best to stand out, hustle, make a great first impression (don’t be a follower), do something that makes you stand out in a positive way, and most importantly be a good teammate (great attitude and sportsmanship). Fourth get in great shape (conditioning, agilities), and finally be early not on time because if you are on time you are late.
What are things that can take us (Louisiana girls basketball) to another level?
Having more people like you (Kris Goff) promoting our girls here in Louisiana through your platform on LGR, thank you for that. Rules wise we can look to the future implementing the Women’s College Basketball rules such as a shot clock (been brought up before, added expense), resetting team fouls at the end of each quarter, and no closely guarded count on the ball handler (that is if we had a shot clock).
What is something you hope your kids carry on with them throughout their lives after leaving your program?
When my girls leave my program, I hope they carry with them what basketball has taught them it is more than just the game they have learned about teamwork, discipline, perseverance, goal-setting, handling success and failure and time management.