The Bradwell Institute Tigers boys’ basketball team open the 2016-17 season on Saturday, Nov. 19 when they travel across town to face off against inner-city rival Liberty County. When they take the court, they will do so with a new head coach.
William Douberly takes over for Rhett Hellgren, who held the post as head coach for four seasons and went 38-67 with one state playoff appearance during his time. Douberly hopes he can help turn his team’s recent luck around after winning just 10 games over the last two seasons and he will do so by treating the players like his family.
“In my first year with this team, I have a few things that I am focused on. I want my players to know that I love them and will treat like they are my own sons,” he explained. “I have high expectations for their behavior and character, which I have communicated to them. I demand their best effort and a positive attitude and if they do those two things, then I will be proud of them.”
The Tigers have not made the state playoffs since the 2013-14 season, where they finished with a 16-13 record, just their second winning season in the last 11 seasons. Douberly hopes to instill a winning attitude in the team while helping them keep a “positive attitude and give their best effort.”
“I am also focused on fundamentals and meeting my players where they are,” he said. “If they don’t know how to do something, then I will teach them. Personally, I am constantly evaluating myself to see where I can improve as a coach and if I am doing this, then I will be able to see areas that need to improve and I will be able to reinforce the areas of need with my team.”
The Tigers lost three seniors from their 2015-16 roster and boast a roster loaded with eight seniors this year. Coach Douberly knows that he has a roster full of talented players and he believes they can all be a contributing factor to their success this year.
“I hesitate to single out a few names as key players when we have so many guys with ability and skill,” he explained. “If I were to name key players, I would say that my key players are the guys who will work hard, listen to the coaches, constantly look for ways to improve and do the next right thing. I consider all of my players to be vital to the success of out team.”
The Tigers are looking to take the state by storm this year and they would do so with an upset of the defending AAAA state champions as they tip off their season on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. across town.