The Edmund Prichett era officially got underway Wednesday when the Shoemaker Grey Wolves held their first practice of basketball season.
Prichett, a 1997 Ellison graduate, takes over head coaching duties after serving as an assistant for the last four seasons, two of which saw Shoemaker make the playoffs.
He played collegiately at Cisco Junior College, Northeastern State University and finished his undergraduate degree at Tarleton State. He spent four years working for the Killeen Parks and Recreation Department before becoming a Shoemaker assistant.
The Grey Wolves open the regular season Nov. 5 at Vista Ridge.
How excited are you that basketball season is just around the corner?
I’m very excited for myself and for the kids. I think we’re going to have a great season and I know the school’s excited about basketball season and also pretty excited because our football season is going pretty well right now.
What are your expectations for this season?
I expect the kids to play hard and come out and compete every night. If we do that, the results will speak for themselves.
Do you think being a Shoemaker assistant for the past four years will make it easier for the players to adjust to your style as a head coach?
I think it was an easier transition because the coach I worked under (Marc Minatrea) let me have a lot of input. It was kind of like both of us were the coach so it was really a smooth transition.
Did being an assistant make it easier for the older kids to buy into your system?
I think it’s still a challenge trying to make our kids understand what we’re trying to do. Of course, you don’t want to fix anything that isn’t broken, but we’re trying to raise it to another level, so we do different things to get different results.
Do you have an idea what the team will look like offensively and defensively this year?
(Laughing) I’ll just say it’s going to be team offense and team defense. We’re going to play hard, play tough, play strong and play together.
Are there any coaches that you played for or are a fan of that you mold your coaching style after?
I consider myself a student of the game and I say that because I’m always learning. When I played, I was just the person that was gathering information. Coach (David) Manley, who is now the principal over at Harker Heights, was one of my high school coaches and some of the things that he taught, I will try to implement. Just the way he got the kids to respond and cared about more than just having a program as far as having a team. My college coach, Larry Gibson, some of the stuff he did, he taught me how to be a champion and, hopefully, I can instill that in the kids.
After you went to college, why did you want to return to Killeen?
I wanted to be here, be around these type of kids and give back to the community. Everybody wants to be on TV and play in the NBA, but this is just as satisfying.
When did you realize that you wanted to be a basketball coach?
When I got out of college, I wanted to be a coach, but I didn’t know exactly the route to go. My brother kind of got me into coaching AAU and I never really thought how I would like it. Coaching AAU I was like ‘This is exactly what I want to do.’ I just took off ever since.
Did your work at parks and recreation give you another perspective on how to run a high school program?
It gave me a lot of organizational skills and (taught me) how to be professional. It just gave me a lot of contacts. I was basically in charge of athletics for all the city, I got to know a lot, got to know a lot of the kids around here and it made me realize that’s exactly what I want to do.
What was the first thing you did as Shoemaker head coach?
We were kind of rolling already into the spring, I wasn’t saying I was hoping I’d get it, I told myself that I think I was going to get it even though sometimes things didn’t look on the upside, but I always thought that I was going to get it. The kids thought I had it before I had it because we kept the ball rolling, we never missed a beat and we never batted an eye. I never said ‘If another coach comes in or if I’m the head coach,’ we just kept rolling. When it became official, I came in and told them and let them know we’re going to compete and we’re trying to be champions.