Cayla Petree recently concluded her fourth season as the head coach of the South Plains College women's basketball program, guiding the Lady Texans to a No. 1 national ranking for the first time in program history en route to a WJCAC conference title and an appearance in the Elite Eight at the 2019 NJCAA Women's Basketball National Tournament.
The Lady Texans posted a 30-5 record during their historic run, with four players from the 2018-2019 squad signing Div. I scholarships, including sophomore Gabbie Green, who signed with the University of Pittsburgh. As one of the top guards in the country, Green was named an NJCAA First Team All-American, as well as a WBCA All-American, Region V Player of the Year, and the Most Valuable Player of the Western Junior College Athletic Conference.
Petree joined the team on April 9, 2015, and hit the ground running. In her first season at the helm, Petree led the Lady Texans to a 20-11 overall record including an appearance in the Region V Regional tournament in Brownwood, Texas.
That set the foundation for Petree to help the Lady Texans reach national status as they went on to be one of the top programs in the country during her second year. Petree led the Lady Texans to a second place finish in the Western Junior College Athletic Conference, including four wins over top 25 programs and an appearance in the 2017 NJCAA Women's Sweet 16 at the NJCAA Women's Basketball National Tournament in Lubbock.
Petree's accomplishments have gone far from unnoticed as she was named one of four finalists for the 2017 and 2019 United States Marine Corps Women's Basketball Coaches Association National Coach of the Year Award. Under Petree's guidance, three members from her 2016-2017 squad were named to the WJCAC All-Conference team, including sophomore Brittany Smith who was named the All-Conference Defensive Player of the Year. Smith was joined by sophomore Jasauen Beard, who was named the WJCAC Co-Newcomer of the Year. Petree has amassed a 95-35 record in Levelland and has an overall record of 188 and 96.
Petree came to South Plains from Angelo State University; where she led the Belles to the LSC Tournament Championship in her first year. However, having played and coached at a junior college level before Petree felt like South Plains was a good fit, and believes in the potential South Plains College has to compete at a national level.
“It’s all about creating this culture for success,” Petree said. “We want to expand the recruiting to a national level. South Plains has resources and the commitment from the administration to go get the best.”
Before her two seasons at Angelo, Petree had a year stint as an assistant at North Texas in Denton. At North Texas, she coached point and shooting guards, like Loryn Goodwin, who she guided to the Sun Belt Freshman of the Year honor, and a selection on the all-conference team. Also, she was able to sign Candice Adams, an ESPN top 100 recruit.
Prior to UNT from 2007-2012, Petree spent her time as head coach rejuvenating Cisco Junior College’s program. In the two years prior to her arrival, Cisco had a 0-60 record. By her third year at Cisco, she had led the Lady Wranglers to the Region V Tournament and had three straight 20-win seasons. Petree was 93-61 at Cisco, including a 66-28 mark her final three seasons. Petree coached 14 student-athletes to all-conference honors and 16 student-athletes continued playing at four-year colleges.
“I try to instill in my players an attitude of, this is where I am, this is where I want to go, and this is what I have to do to get there,” Petree said. “I can really use that mindset with junior college players, both academically and on the basketball court.”
Prior to Cisco, Petree spent some time working as an assistant at New Mexico Junior College and for the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association in 2006-2007. Petree says that her experiences as a player at the collegiate level have helped her relate to players in her coaching profession.
She played for Cisco Junior College and Texas Tech University. While at Cisco she played under Ronnie Hearne, and then transferred to Tech where she was a member of the 2003 Elite Eight Team under Hall of Fame Coach Marsha Sharp.
“From the first moment I met Cayla Petree, it was obvious how much passion she had for the game of basketball,” said Sharp. “The other thing I learned about Cayla was her incredible work ethic. I think that has been a major factor in her coaching success. She will bring great energy and experience to South Plains. She will be a strong contributor to every area of the college. I am really excited to be able to watch her teams play.”
In 2006 she graduated from Texas Tech with a Master’s of Science in sports management, and in 2004 she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in exercise and sports science communication from Texas Tech.
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