A familiar face: Britt Gaylor takes over as LaGrange Academy girls basketball coach

Published 6:29 pm Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

A familiar face will be leading the charge for the LaGrange Academy girls basketball team next season. Current head boys basketball coach Britt Gaylor will be relinquishing his spot as middle school head coach to serve as both the girls and boys high school coach. It will be a lot of responsibility, but Gaylor feels more than up to the task.

“Kids want to play for people that care about them and I think it’s good to have a relationship already established with the girls,” Gaylor said. “I already care about these girls from a school standpoint, day-to-day life standpoint, so I think all that will help when they come out to play for me.”

The Warriors are saying goodbye to Ken Klinger, who won two state championships at LaGrange Academy. Gaylor had to say goodbye the a dear friend but is excited about the opportunity to lead both basketball programs at LaGrange Academy.

“For two years I was head coach [for girls basketball] and loved it.  I love that side of the game. And yeah, I definitely jumped at an opportunity to get back on that side of the ball,” Gaylor said. “I’m excited about being able to coach both girls and boys.  There are advantages to it, and I get to work with the guys I still care about but also continue to work with the girls that I’ve developed relationships with. So I’m pumped about it.”

Gaylor is no stranger to women’s basketball, having previously served as the head coach and an assistant coach of the girls team at St. George’s, a rival of LaGrange Academy. He had many duels with Klinger’s Warriors over the years.

“Yeah. It’s one of those things you hate. It’s really bittersweet,” Gaylor said. “We had a lot of good battles over the years and it was a pleasure to coach alongside him.”

The LaGrange Academy girls basketball program has been in a healthy state in the last few seasons. The Warriors won the state championship in the 2022-23 season before going through a start-and-stop season that saw the team play just 10 games in 2023-24. The Warriors won their first eight games before dropping the final two, including a playoff game to Crisp Academy that the Warriors led by double-digits at halftime. 

There is a lot for Gaylor to build on and he plans to make only minor changes to the way Klinger ran the show.

“It is all about standards and we plan to keep the same standards coach Klinger has developed during his time here,” Gaylor said. “I have the same expectations for the guys that coach Klinger has for the girls in terms of all the intangibles, effort, how to practice it, how to practice hard, play hard. And yes, the record was not great, but I feel like our boy season was successful, because we met all of our standards. And so I was very proud of them for doing that day in and day out when they could have, they could have quit, and they never did.”

At the same time, Gaylor will have to do some re-tooling. The Warriors will be losing four seniors — Tasha Brawner, Kaitlann Jones, Laura Knight and Anna Beth Kinnersley. Knight and Kinnersley have been two of the best players for the Warriors in recent memory and the duo’s leadership and ability will be hard to replace.

“What excites me about taking over the girls is the impact those girls have left and we will see it over the next few years,” Gaylor said. “The on-court performance was phenomenal, but knowing the type of girls they were in terms of their character, their humility off the court, they really set an example and I think you can see the younger girls look up to them and start to emulate what they did.”

Even though Gaylor was not on the staff for the girls team the last few seasons, he has always provided a helping hand. Gaylor believes that The familiarity that he already has with the players will be a huge asset going forward.

“We will be young, but we have a good group of middle school players coming up and we have players like Marley Hand that have played in and won a state championship,” Gaylor said. “I don’t want to give too much away about what we might have this season.”

Gaylor will be leading a youthful revolution for the girls basketball teams. Now, it is the quiet before the storm, but Gaylor will be back in the LaGrange Academy gym barking orders at the girls basketball practice in the blink of an eye.