Catrina Green named as new girls basketball coach at West
By Jay Spivey
For the Clemmons Courier
Replacing a successful coach in any sport is a tricky proposition.
After six seasons with a dominant run by Coach Brittany Cox Hudson, West Forsyth has hired Catrina Green to be the next girls basketball coach for the Titans.
Cox Hudson led the Titans to the NCHSAA Class 4-A state championship in 2019, and after taking this past season off for maternity leave, she resigned to focus on being a mother. Johnny Hill filled in as head coach while Cox Hudson was on maternity leave, and the Titans finished 10-4 overall and finished co-champions with East Forsyth in the Central Piedmont 4-A after going 9-1.
Enter Green, who is 29 years old. It’s not too dissimilar to when Cox Hudson was hired at West Forsyth when she was 24. Green played girls basketball and graduated from Western Guilford in 2010. After she graduated, she played collegiately at Gardner-Webb, graduating in 2014, and finished with 1,200 points and 1,000 rebounds.
“I think they (Principal Kevin Spainhour and Ahletics Director Mike Pennington of West Forsyth) know what they want,” Green said. “I think for them it was just about personality and characteristics that you would bring to a program, and your coaching philosophy. I think would’ve hired anybody, but I also know they’re looking for somebody that, they want to see somebody that will stay in that position for a long time.”
After graduating from Gardner-Webb, Green played professionally in Europe. She was also an assistant coach at University of Illinois-Springfield, Lincoln Memorial, USC-Upstate, and just finished as an assistant at Texas A&M International in Laredo, Texas.
“The area was very familiar to me, so once I saw the position become available I thought this would be a great opportunity for me to get my foot in the door as a head coach,” Green said. “I’ve always wanted to coach in the Triad area. A lot of times, these jobs don’t come up too often.
“I’ve applied for other jobs and it just didn’t work out. You know, I couldn’t understand it. I’m a product of the area, so would think a lot of people wanted to bring me back, but it just didn’t happen. But I’m thankful that (Athletics Director) Mike and Mr. Spainhour took the opportunity to bring me to West Forsyth. So, I’m definitely blessed to have this opportunity.”
Green’s knowledge of the game stood out for Spainhour and Pennington.
“When we first got her resumé, she’s got a variety of different experiences. She’s been in college several years,” Pennington said. “We first talked to her in person. She’s very impressive. She’s very much a people person. But you can tell she knows basketball and she loves basketball, which we want for all of our sports, coaches that love the sport and love to work with kids. And that’s definitely her.”
Pennington went a step further in describing how impressive Green was.
“Mr. Spainhour and I are former basketball coaches, so I think we could do a pretty good job of evaluating things,” he said. “She knows the game, that’s for sure.
“The (Winston-Salem/Forsyth County) School system requires that we check reference, which we would’ve done anyway, but we checked three references and it was ridiculous. They almost couldn’t find anything negative to say about her. They were just very impressed with her. So, we’re thrilled. I think she’s going to do a great job.”
Coaching as an assistant in college, Green believes will be beneficial as she begins her first year as a head coach at any level.
“I think it will translate really well just watching the program and how it’s grown under Coach Hudson and her personality,” Green said. “I believe that my personality will fit well with the things that she’s done in the past. And I got an opportunity to meet the girls a couple weeks ago.
“…My personality —- I believe I’m a very positive person. I try to find a positive in every situation. I’m a very fundamental and skills-oriented coach. I’m not the type of coach that’s going to throw 30 or 40 plays at you…I’m very basic. From my years of coaching, I’ve tried to pick up things from every coach I’ve had to help me.”
Green has been in Laredo this summer, and she’s finishing her master’s degree in sports management through the online program at Western Carolina. She is also doing an internship for her master’s and will be there until mid-July. She’s bought a house in Winston-Salem and will be moving here this month.
“My goal is to be back the 19th, or the week of the 19th, to be on campus and working and training with the girls,” Green said. “And then just get started that way.”
Hill has agreed to stay with the program as an assistant coach, and she’s led the summer program with the coaching transition.
“He is going to be one of my assistants,” Green said of Hill. “He actually took the team to Catawba team camp last week. I’m definitely going to lean on him a lot this year…I’m really excited to work with him. We already have started a great working relationship, so I know that he will be crucial, as far building relationships with the players.”
Building relationships with the players will also be helped because Green will be a PE teacher at West Forsyth, meaning she’ll be at the school full-time.
“It definitely came out to be a great situation. I wouldn’t mind just being a community coach, but like I said, with the situation being a relationship-building consideration, you get to see the kids all the kids all the time, and having access to the gym all the time, it’s kind of like what I do in college. The girls can come to the office whenever they need to, and talk to me whenever they need to. So, I think that’s really good that I get to do that.”
Being a teacher at the school where you coach is helpful.
“She’ll be in the building,” Pennington said. “I think that will be very important for help to help to build a program.”
West Forsyth has had a wealth of talent with Skyler Curran graduating in 2018 and was named the Big South Player of the Year at High Point University this past season, as well as Callie Scheier, who was the MVP of the state championship game in 2019, and is a sophomore playing at High Point. The Titans also had do-everything player Destiny Griffin, who graduated in 2019. And this past season, senior Shakira Baskerville was named conference player of the year, and she’ll be playing at High Point this season with Curran and Scheier. Baskerville was also named to the East-West All-Star Game in Greensboro later this month. The Titans also had Alana Gary, who has signed to play at Young Harris.
“I think people realize that (with young talent coming to West Forsyth), but the last couple years, they’ve seen it back-to-back-to-back,” Green said. “And now, we have a younger team. It’s somebody else’s turn to step up. ”
Don’t get it confused. West Forsyth still has plenty of talent. That’s where the stability with Green comes in.
“I’ve always believed high school sports — the measure of how well a coach has done is his or her team gets better during the year,” Pennington said. “And sometimes that getting better might be a conference championship, or it might be a state championship. Sometimes you don’t have that talent level and so it’s going to be a whole lot less.”
The experience of Pennington and Spainhour as coaches before being administrators is also important.
“I think they’ll have a pretty good team next year,” Pennington said. “Talent does cycle through. And we’ve got some good players on the girls team. In my opinion, your primary barometer of a high school coach is his or her team getting better. The wins and losses take care of themselves when that happens. And I have no doubt that Catrina’s teams will do that because she’s got too many things going for her.”
Since the 2015-16 season, West Forsyth finished tied for the conference title with Reagan in 2015-16 at 20-7 overall and 9-3 in the conference, second in 2016-17 behind Reynolds and finished 24-6 overall and 10-2 in the conference, won the conference title in 2017-18 with a record of 24-4 overall and 9-1 in the conference, won the conference and the Class 4-A state championship in 2018-19 with a record of 27-3 and 9-1 in the conference, and in 2019-20, it finished 15-11 overall and tied for second with East Forsyth in the conference at 7-3 after Glenn finished 24-2 overall and 10-0 in the conference.
“I didn’t do it when I was coaching, so I don’t think it’s fair to set numbers,” Pennington said. “I just, like I say, your kids play hard, they play the game the right way, and they get better. If that happens we’ll win our share of games. I think the girl’s got a chance of being pretty good.”
One change to the Central Piedmont 4-A this season will be the addition of two new teams. After having West Forsyth, Reagan, Glenn, East Forsyth, Reynolds and Davie County be in the conference the last four school years, those teams will be back this season, in addition to Mount Tabor and Parkland.
“The biggest thing for me is, having the girls have the confidence that we can compete with everybody,” Green said. “Will we win some games? Yes. Will we lose some games? Absolutely. You can’t win ’em all, but knowing, that hey, we’re going to compete day-in and day-out, and achieve the success with the team that we have.
“There’s a lot of good seniors coming back and a lot of new ones coming in, but I think as the program begins to build it will be able to take us far.”