Vontreece Hayes enters her third season with Maryland Eastern Shore, after finishing her collegiate career at Greensboro College in North Carolina. In her final season, Hayes was a captain for the Pride where they won the 2015 USA South Conference Regular Season and Tournament Title as #1 Northern division champions. Hayes also participated in the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association’s (WBCA) So You Want To Be a Coach Program following the completion of the final season of her collegiate playing career. Recently, Vontreece was part of the semi-professional women’s basketball USA Elite in Greensboro, N.C.
Hayes was heavily affiliated in the AAU circuit, assisting with multiple AAU programs in North Carolina during her college career. Her resume includes stints with the National Carolina Basketball Association (under former Utah Jazz and Wake Forest guard, Delaney Rudd), Hoops and Dreams Showcase Camps and Stars of Tomorrow Training (under Kenny Carter), NC Team (under Melvin Heggie), and Team Reign. In May 2015, Hayes completed her undergraduate degree with a Bachelor of Science in Business and Administration and Economics.
A Hands-On GA Experience
When I started my graduate assistant position at Maryland Eastern Shore, which is a Division I Historical Black College or University (HBCU), I had it in my mind that I was just going to be a fly on the wall, learning by watching those around me. Division I schools are only allowed 4 coaches per NCAA rules – because of this, many GA’s are not allowed to actually “coach” skill development or scout in their roles. At Maryland Eastern Shore, there are three full time coaches and I am the fourth coach on staff. As one of the four countable coaches, Coach Fred Batchelor has allowed me to be hands on a variety of areas such as player development, recruiting, and scout coordinating. He has also put me in positions to aid in the teaching our dribble drive offense.
Our head coach, Fred Batchelor, firmly believes in the empowerment of female coaches in women’s basketball and he fully understands that I want to continue coaching after I graduate.
How Coaching AAU Helped Prepare Me
Assisting with various AAU programs helped prepared me for my graduate assistant position at Maryland Eastern Shore by exposing me to various playing styles that each program swore by as well as different coaching techniques; some believed in breaking down and teaching the game increased the players IQ, some believed the players need to play fluidly to learn from their mistakes, and others believed in the “tough love” strategy to build mental toughness and prepare the players for collegiate basketball.
Throughout my time coaching AAU I also realized that many of the teams were coached by men. Not only that, but I also realized that I had predominantly been surrounded by male coaches throughout my own playing career. I had found it to be difficult to find female coaches who were receptive to wanting to aid other female coaches into being successful and was humbled by the opportunity to provide that mentorship to the players I coached.
Hardest Thing About GA-Life
On every staff, individuals tend to specialize in a particular area, whether it’s recruiting, budget, positional development, etc. As a GA, sometimes you are only called to help in those areas when needed. Because of this, you can feel lost at times as to what is needed in those areas or have difficulty anticipating what the coaches will want from you.
Tips For Making the Most Out Your Position
- Go Beyond Your Job Description: We have 6am practice every morning so our day starts at 4:45/5:00a.m. so I make a conscious effort to perk the players up in the morning to help set the tone.
- Be willing to do all the miscellaneous tasks that nobody else wants to do – try to make the head coach’s job as easy as possible
- Always check to see if anybody on the staff needs anything before you leave the office.
- NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK!
- Invest in yourself and attend conferences. My recommendations: WBCA conventions, the Duke University “Moving Up” workshop hosted by Hernado Planells, the Nike championship basketball clinic, and PGC basketball clinics.
- Don’t be afraid to send an email – Connect with other colleagues in your current role or a role you aspire to attain.
- Struggles of being a GA: If you are serious about wanting to further your career in coaching after you graduate, whether it’s being a DOBO, assistant coach or head coach, you have to be willing to do miscellaneous tasks that nobody else on the staff wants to do. During your GA years, you have to be relentless – instead of getting discouraged, remind yourself every day that there is a bigger picture to everything that you are doing.
- On Court/Game Situation: If you want to help out the head coach during the game do not watch the ball and who has the ball because the head coach is already doing that. Watch the other players and observe what they are doing. Write down your notes so you’re prepared if asked!