PERKINSTON — Mississippi Gulf Coast women's basketball coach Hope Adams, who took her team from winless in conference to the region championship game, has been named MACJC Coach of the Year by her peers.
"It was a very emotional moment," she said. "It makes me look forward to the future at Gulf Coast knowing we're on the right track building the program. We're getting the right kids in and we have the right staff around."
Adams gave credit to her team and assistant coaches Stacy Malone and Jonathan Williams.
"Coach Stacy and Jonathan did a great job," she said. "Jonathan gives us a lot of unpaid time. You need a great staff around you to be a successful coach."
Adams' team went 6-17 overall and 0-14 in the MACJC South in 2017-18. Her Lady Bulldogs turned that around quickly this year, winning 10 more games overall and nine in the division.
"We had a slow start at first and had a lot of newcomers coming in," Adams said. " I told them it's not how we start, it's how we finish. The girls bought in, and when they bought in it got us there. The players win you games. I'm grateful for them."
The Lady Bulldogs were 7-6 after getting beaten by Jones on Jan. 22. They would win seven of their next nine games and finish 16-10, 9-5.
"I'm thankful for my sophomores especially," Adams said. "They had a tough year last year, and once they figured out the leadership was in their hands, they took over. They got us there."
Gulf Coast got beaten by eventual state champ Jones at Ellisville in the MACJC Tournament semifinals, then made it all the way to the NJCAA Region 23 Tournament finals before falling again to the Lady Bobcats in Clinton.
It was certainly a different feeling after that loss than the one that sealed an 0-14 division record in her rookie head coaching season.
"I had a lot of doubt," she said. "Being a first-year season, going through a season like that, you can't help but have some doubt. Having a great people in my corner, having great mentors who were telling me to stay focused, keep recruiting and coaching, it'll all work out.
"We're here, and we're building the program. I'm just looking for many years here at Gulf Coast, with us not just playing in championship games but winning championships."
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