Coyotes Riding High

Lone Star College-Kingwood Coyote basketball team is in the midst of a great season and by all accounts it's due to their new head coach.   In a slightly out of the ordinary move, the college hired a female coach to lead its men's team.

Alan Wright, Director of Intramurals and Sport Clubs says the college went through a thorough review process when considering Courtney Pastner.  "We were familiar with Pastner and her accomplishments.  We were looking for someone who would be mature enough to lead the team and she fit the bill."

He admits, "It's unusual to have a female as a men's basketball coach, but she is terrific.  Her technical knowledge is awesome."

Pastner was an all state player at Kingwood High School where she earned the honor of Gatorade Player of the Year in 1999.  She played with Texas Tech on a scholarship and then transferred to University of Houston, also to play on a scholarship.  Basketball is a family affair and she's been playing her whole life.  She says, "It's not very different for me.  I've been involved with men's basketball all my life.  My dad runs a company that focuses on the game of basketball and my brother is the assistant coach for the University of Arizona."

Assistant Coach Melvin Marks says "I've been coaching for years and I learn something new every day by watching her.  I enjoy working with her."

Coach Pastner says coaching this team has been easy.  "The guys have good attitudes and they want to win.  I knew a lot of them and they were familiar with me.  From the start they respected me."

Watching her coach, it's easy to see the players trust her knowledge of the game.  Freshman Reggie Shelvin graduated from Humble High School and came to Lone Star College-Kingwood to be a part of the team.  "I had played with Coach Marks before and I knew about Coach Pastner and her dad, she's a good coach."

The team competes in a league with other community colleges in the area, but also takes on higher level teams from Junior Colleges.  "It's a whole different level, they have scholarship players but our guys can compete with those teams."  She also adds that it's important for these guys to be seen competing with the higher level teams because scouts come to those games.

"Many of the guys want to go to the next level.  What we try to instill in them is the qualities it takes to get there and to be successful."

Eric Nelmchi and Kevin Armstead agree that playing for Coach Pastner has been great.  "She takes what we've got, puts the pieces together and makes it work.  The team is one hundred times better than I expected," says Armstead.

Wright has been trying hard to revamp the entire sports program at Lone Star College-Kingwood.  He focused first on a name and mascot change for the basketball team.   "Luckily," he says, "the basketball facilities are amazing and that was one thing that didn't need any improving."

Slowly but surely his efforts are paying off.  The team now sports new t-shirts that Wright feels will bring more of an identity to campus and participation is up.   "Being a part of a sports team helps some of these guys stay in school," says Wright.  "Research has shown that students involved in sports progress faster and have higher GPA's."

"We require our students to be enrolled in nine credit hours and maintain a 2.0 GPA, which we strictly enforce," says Wright. 

Starting the year with new coaches, a new name and mascot, and a winning team, Wright is all smiles.  "It's been very satisfying for me to see the metamorphosis of this whole program."

For more information about the Lone Star College-Kingwood Intramurals and Sport Clubs contact Wright at 281-312-1508 or http://recsports.kingwoodcollege.com/.

Register online and by phone for the December mini-mester and spring term 2008 at kingwood.lonestar.edu/goto/registration or 281-591-6625. On-site registration is available during regular offices hours beginning Nov. 26. New students attending for the first time from other colleges or universities must have an official college transcript sent to Lone Star College-Kingwood prior to registration and should also complete the online admissions application at www.lonestar.edu/goto/apply.htm.

For general information about Lone Star College-Kingwood, call 281-312-1600 or visit our Web site at kingwood.lonestar.edu.

Lone Star College System, one of the five largest and fastest growing community college districts in Texas, comprises Lone Star College-North Harris, Lone Star College-Kingwood, Lone Star College–Tomball, Lone Star College–Montgomery, Lone Star College–CyFair and six satellite centers and The University Center. For more information on the programs and services of the college district, please visit the Web site at www.lonestar.edu or call 832-813-6500.