WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - There is a new voice on the bench for the Cape Fear Community College women’s basketball team.
While head coach Lori Drake is on medical leave, Trae Bryant has taken over the program as the interim coach.
The 2015 Hoggard graduate played his last college basketball game less than a year ago. At 23, the 2015 Hoggard grad is just a few years older than his players.
“Our first meeting, that’s what I said — I know it’s going to be weird trying to listen to someone that’s two years older than you,” said Bryant. “You just have to have faith in me like I have faith in you.”
“He’s not like a coach to us, he’s like a mentor,” added guard Akyia King. He takes time to work one on one with us on our game. He brings us in the gym and works out drills; he’s like a mentor.
“He can relate to us more,” said guard Kaleigh Shreffler. “Somebody younger, so he understands our frustrations and where we’re coming from, so it’s easier to adjust in my mind.”
Bryant says that he’s still trying to adjust to his new role.
“Being a first-year coach, this is all new to me. It’s a learning process for me and the girls,” said Bryant. “I’m trying to learn from them and try to better myself and [hope they] try to learn from me.”
One thing that he’s learned in his short time coaching is a new appreciation for all of his former coaches and what a difficult job they have.
“From a players’ perspective, you want to know why coach is getting mad at you and stuff,” said Bryant. “But now that I’m in the shoes of a coach, I understand completely. I was thinking about reaching out to them and putting them all in one group message and telling them, ‘thank you and I apologize for any problems I caused,’ but I understand it now.”
Bryant hopes this is the start of a long coaching career.