The Howard Lady Huskies are in the middle of their best season in school history. Latavia Coleman is responsible for calling the shots at Howard and is pulling from her playing days to get the job done.
"I was hoping to play until I was about 40," said Coleman. "Every kid has that dream, but I came to reality and I knew there was nothing else I wanted to do besides coach."
Coleman graduatedfrom Southwest High School in 1996. She helped lead the Lady Patriots to the State Regional Finals. Coleman was an all-city, all-state and all-Middle Georgia selection. She went on to play forward for the Florida State Seminoles and was selected in the third round of the 2000 WNBA Draft by the Houston Comets.
Coleman eventually found her way to coaching.
"When I first came in, I was at Southwest as an assistant coach there for a couple of years," explained Coleman. "When they opened Howard, it was a great opportunity for me to start a program and build my own legacy."
One of the biggest challenges was stepping off the floor.
"It's stressful. It's tough," said Coleman. "I had to learn that every kid can't think like me. Every kid doesn't have the heart that I have. I have some kids you know they're defensive specialists. They can't shoot, but I saw something in them from try-outs. You know, just trying to make the best of what I have."
The former Seminole has struck a balance between demanding the best and earning her players' respect.
"She's a touch coach," said junior point guardChasma Hart. "But in the end you will love her because the stuff she tells you makes you better at what you want to be."
"She wants what she wants," said senior center Jamila Mayfield. "We just know we have to go out and do that. If you go out and do that she's a really easy going coach."
Howard goes on the road to challenge region leader Mary Persons Tuesday night.