Plattsburgh State women’s head basketball coach Cheryl Cole is tantamount to a mad scientist when it comes to her involvement in the game.
However, instead of using beakers and test tubes, she uses the mountains of playbooks that abide in her office to achieve her endeavors; the latest of which was her 200th win that came on Friday night against Brockport.
“I haven’t ever really thought about it,” Cole said. “It’s a testament to the players that have come through this program.”
Cole was a two-sport athlete in college, playing soccer and basketball, and that is where her love of the game developed. She explained how she was always involved with her teams since she was little. Her early passion for the game influenced her to start coaching at Mary Washington in Virginia, where she coached both basketball and soccer.
“It was hard enough to do two sports as a player, but it was a lot more difficult as a coach,” Cole said. “As a coach you have the responsibility of managing the dynamics of the team, along with recruiting and practice.”
After balancing the two sports for all of her life, it was not until Cole arrived here at PSUC that she gave up soccer. About 20 years later, Cole is the leader in wins as head coach for basketball amongst her predecessors.
For anyone not on the team, people see only the numbers in the win and loss columns. However, people are not aware of what truly goes into the development of a winning program.
Assistant Coach Ben Sarraf was able to shed some light on this matter.
“She knows how to handle the kids,” Sarraf said. “She’s been in it for 20 years and she’s become great at dealing with the things that have nothing to do with basketball and everything to do with basketball.”
Sarraf has been working beside Cole for two years now and in that time he says he has learned a great deal about the game from her.
Whether it is during practice or watching film, Sarraf express how elaborate Cole is in her preparation for games.
“When I came in last year, I could at most memorize a team’s plays,” Sarraf said, “but Coach, she knew every player in the league basically.”
Sarraf is not the only one who described his time with Cole as a great experience. Brittany Marshall, who contributed 15 points to the historic win, has built a strong relationship with Cole over these past four years.
“She’s just such a great coach,” Marshall said. “She’s become like a second mom to me over these past four years.”
Marshall, who is a senior, will not be coming back next year just like many players before her. This reoccurring process of players coming and going motivates Cole to consistently develop the best team that she can each year.
Because when it all comes down to it, Cole said:
“It’s a team accomplishment. I never played one of those 200 games.”
Email Kevin Morley at email@example.com