Jan 11, 2012
Florida Coach Breaking New Ground

News-Press, Tim Ritter

http://www.news-press.com/article/20120110/SPORTS01/301100020/1005/NEWS0103/Lehigh-boys-basketball-coach-breaking-new-ground?odyssey=nav|head

CLEWISTON, Fla.–Willie Lee was focused on getting his Clewiston boys basketball team ready for its game against Lehigh last week in the Lehigh Regional Medical Center Holiday Madness tournament when he noticed something.

“I’m saying, where’s the coach, where’s the coach?” Lee said. “Then I realize …”

Then he realized that the guy he was looking for was no guy. Lehigh coach Dawn McNew has likely gotten a few reactions like that since taking over the boys team this year.

“That’s fine with me, she said with a smile . That doesn’t bother me at all.”

McNew has become part of a very small club as the only female boys basketball coach in the area, but she’s waiting for the moment when her team draws notice for its play, not the gender of its coach.

“I really don’t want it to be a big deal, McNew said. I want it to be about the progress the kids are making. It shouldn’t matter that they have a woman as a coach.”

McNew is new to coaching boys, but she’s hardly new to coaching, and has had plenty of success doing it. She coached a state title team during her eight years with Beach Grove in Indiana while mentoring an Indiana Miss Basketball. But in 2004, warmer climes lured her away from the powerhouse she had built.

“We moved down because the only thing I liked about Indiana in the winter was the basketball, McNew said with a laugh.

She coached the Lightning girls for a few years before stepping down to focus on teaching. But the woman who also has won a title as a player in the United States Specialty Sports Association’s women’s softball world series kept getting called back in off the bench whenever a coaching job opened up at Lehigh, leading at various times the girls basketball, girls golf and softball teams.

Then McNew saw the boys job open up.

It was just something I hadn’t done, McNew said. I had coached the girls at Lehigh, and some of the boys had wondered why I didn’t coach the boys, too.”

So she didn’t think twice about applying, and her long resume landed her the job. The players were excited to play for their longtime physical education teacher, and they said respect was not going to be an issue with a coach of a different gender.

Florida Coach Breaking New Ground

News-Press, Tim Ritter

http://www.news-press.com/article/20120110/SPORTS01/301100020/1005/NEWS0103/Lehigh-boys-basketball-coach-breaking-new-ground?odyssey=nav|head

CLEWISTON, Fla.–Willie Lee was focused on getting his Clewiston boys basketball team ready for its game against Lehigh last week in the Lehigh Regional Medical Center Holiday Madness tournament when he noticed something.

“I’m saying, where’s the coach, where’s the coach?” Lee said. “Then I realize …”

Then he realized that the guy he was looking for was no guy. Lehigh coach Dawn McNew has likely gotten a few reactions like that since taking over the boys team this year.

“That’s fine with me, she said with a smile . That doesn’t bother me at all.”

McNew has become part of a very small club as the only female boys basketball coach in the area, but she’s waiting for the moment when her team draws notice for its play, not the gender of its coach.

“I really don’t want it to be a big deal, McNew said. I want it to be about the progress the kids are making. It shouldn’t matter that they have a woman as a coach.”

McNew is new to coaching boys, but she’s hardly new to coaching, and has had plenty of success doing it. She coached a state title team during her eight years with Beach Grove in Indiana while mentoring an Indiana Miss Basketball. But in 2004, warmer climes lured her away from the powerhouse she had built.

“We moved down because the only thing I liked about Indiana in the winter was the basketball, McNew said with a laugh.

She coached the Lightning girls for a few years before stepping down to focus on teaching. But the woman who also has won a title as a player in the United States Specialty Sports Association’s women’s softball world series kept getting called back in off the bench whenever a coaching job opened up at Lehigh, leading at various times the girls basketball, girls golf and softball teams.

Then McNew saw the boys job open up.

It was just something I hadn’t done, McNew said. I had coached the girls at Lehigh, and some of the boys had wondered why I didn’t coach the boys, too.”

So she didn’t think twice about applying, and her long resume landed her the job. The players were excited to play for their longtime physical education teacher, and they said respect was not going to be an issue with a coach of a different gender.






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