Written by Kyle Dawson, Photo Editor
In what was both an introduction and a homecoming, Carley Kuhns was introduced as the new head coach of the VSU women’s basketball team at a press conference Monday.
Kuhns, who has spent the last six years as an assistant at Belmont University, played basketball at VSU from 2004 to 2008 where she scored over a thousand points for the Blazers and was elected to the second team of the Gulf South Conference’s all-decade team. In 2015, Kuhns was elected into the Blazer Athletics Hall of Fame.
While at Belmont, Kuhns coached eight Bruins to all-conference honors, won a conference championship and helped the team reach its first NCAA tournament since 2007 in the 2015-2016 season. Kuhns said that she thinks her time at Belmont will help her as a head coach at VSU.
“We’ve had a very successful program at Belmont,” Kuhns said, “I think that my experience at the Division I level through coaching, scouting and recruiting have given me the confidence and the abilities to step into this role.”
The Blazers will welcome Kuhns’ experience and accolades she gained while at Belmont as they have not done as well since she left. VSU hasn’t had a winning season in the past three years, but Kuhns said that she can get the Blazers back on track if she puts recruiting at the forefront.
“I 100 percent think recruiting is going to be what it takes to be successful here,” Kuhns said, “We’ve got to have the right players and the right people.”
Kuhns said that her ability to recruit players accompanied by her career at VSU as a player is something that she talked about during her interview for the position.
“I had such a successful career here as a player, and to be able to come in and say this is why I chose Valdosta, this is what you can do here and these are the things you can accomplish, I think will make girls want to come play for me.” Kuhns said.
Kuhns, who has yet to meet with the team formally, said that her game plan will evolve once she gets the chance to spend some time on the court with them.
“You can plan to see an up tempo style of basketball,” Kuhns said, “I’ve got my ideas on the types of things we’re going to run, but I want to be able to see what their strengths are and be able to play to those strengths and not try to make a square peg fit a round hole.”
Kuhns said that along with winning the Blazers’ first Gulf South Conference championship, her first goal as head coach is to mentor the young women on her team to become better students and better people as well as giving back to the community.
“Winning is fun, but the most important thing is that my girls get a good experience and that they graduate,” Kuhns said, “It’s a great day to be a Blazer.”