TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY
By Chris Parsons / Sports Editor
CORBIN — With his first preseason as a head coach winding down, Corbin Lady Redhounds’ coach Jason McDaniel said the first few months on the job have gone quite well.
Having played the sport for much of his life, McDaniel is no stranger to the ins and outs of getting ready for a basketball season. Having been an assistant coach for 12 years, the first-year coach said he knew what to expect coming in to the season, but there has been one adjustment that has taken a little more to get used to.
“Obviously, the change was an adjustment moving from an assistant for 12 years to becoming a head coach,” McDaniel said. “The administrative part of the job has been much more time consuming, but it wasn’t anything that I didn’t anticipate before applying.
“Being with coach (Tony) Pietrowski for 12 years has helped me with the transition, so I somewhat understood the details with the administrative duties,” he added. “My assistants have helped along the way and I'm very appreciative for that.”
As for the actual basketball being played this preseason, McDaniel said he’s more than happy with what he’s seen out of the defending 13th Region Champions since they took the floor for the first practice.
“The girls have been wonderful,” McDaniel said. “This is a very hard working, close-knit group from top to bottom and they really give it everything each day.
“We scrimmaged Scott County Saturday evening at Scott County and the first comment that Steve Helton (Scott County's coach) gave me was that our girls play hard every possession,” he added. “I echo that statement. They are very receptive and understand the effort that it will take this season to contend for the district and region title, but I give our parents, coach (Jennifer) Parsons and her staff, and most importantly the girls all the credit for that compliment.”
While McDaniel has adjusted well to the new position, one of the questions coming in to the job was how the team would respond to a male coach leading the way after having Parsons at the helm for the past 12 seasons.
The good news according to McDaniel is the fact that even though there may be a difference in his approach, the goal of winning basketball games remains the same.
“My basketball terminology may differ from Jennifer's, but the message is the same,” McDaniel said. “Let's get better at what we are good at and who cares who gets it done as long as Corbin gets it done.
“I was very familiar with the upperclassmen by watching them practice, play, and having most of them in class so that was there from the beginning,” he added. “There has been minimal changes throughout the program since I've came on board because Jennifer has done a fantastic job.”
As the Lady Redhounds’ season-opener approaches, McDaniel said like any other coach this time of year, he will try to focus on the things he feels like his team can do at a high level and try to improve even more. He said one of the biggest challenges any coach faces is to get players to improve upon skills they are already doing well.
“My focus has been concentrating on the skills we do well and become better at them,” McDaniel said. “Every basketball player can improve in all areas, even areas that they know they have had past success in.
“My goal is for them to become better and accept the challenge of always trying to improve your game in order to help our team achieve success,” he added. “Areas like floor spacing, shooting off the dribble, attacking the basket, containing the dribbler, rebounding, and creating for a teammate, along with many more we focus on each week. Improvement in these areas, being a great teammate, and never being satisfied are areas we preach everyday.”
With all the hoopla that has went along with taking over the Corbin Lady Redhounds as they’re coming off the best season in the program’s history, those on the outside looking in may expect McDaniel to be a nervous wreck.
That’s not the case at all. In fact, he said he’s never been one to let nerves take over when it comes to basketball and he doesn’t expect that to change when his Lady Redhounds officially take the floor for the first time on Dec. 4.
“I'm excited and a little anxious,” McDaniel said. “It hit me on Saturday when Scott County came out for warm-ups, I said to myself ‘this is what it's all about.’
“Everything left my mind but basketball and trying to be the best coach for these girls and my community that I can be,” he added. “I've never been one to become very nervous when it comes to basketball and I don't think that will change. I have confidence in our team and always strive to become better at what I try to do every day.”