Eastside's new girls' basketball coach is home. A Covington native, Gladys King - formerly Rockdale County High School girls head basketball coach - will take over for former Lady Eagles head coach Matthew Jackson, after accepting the job this spring.
King has a profuse amount of basketball experience. She's played the sport in Newton County since she was in the sixth grade before transferring to RCHS for her final three years in high school. King went on to earn a scholarship and play in Oklahoma before moving back to Georgia to play at Paine College in Augusta. King, who is 6-foot-1 played center in high school and small forward in college. She made her money, as they say, scoring in the paint and getting rebounds.
After spending a year at Salem under Rochone Dilligard, King went on to work as an assistant at Rockdale before being hired as the head coach.
"They came looking for me. When opportunity knocks, you have to go for that opportunity. I thought it was a good fit because I'm right in this area, I know a lot of people in this area. I know some of the parents and people in this community so that was one of the reasons. I'm right at home," King said.
King says the community had has welcomed her back with open arms. She says she's received phone calls and messages, and it's been a wonderful feeling.
Some of the Lady Eagles and King are already hard at work this summer. They've been practicing and will participate in a number of tournaments this summer as they get used to one another.
"My goals are for the girls to be very competitive. Always compete, always working hard, doing your best and giving 100 percent at everything that they do," King said.
After a few practices with a small squad due to it being summer, King said she was very impressed with what she's seen, especially her seniors.
"They show great leadership. They come out and they're working hard, so I'm really impressed," King said about her seniors.
King added that she expects everybody to help build this program, from underclassmen to upperclassmen, she won't rely on just one person.
As for what happens on the court, King says that she wants her team to be aggressive and quick. Her motto is "we can score but other teams can't score" so it starts on the defensive end. At Rockdale, she was known to switch up her defenses on the fly, going from different zones to man as she felt necessary, which she says will likely continue at Eastside.
"Each player is different and my motto is this: girls need to understand that they all have a different role. Everybody has a different role on the team," King said. "Some player's role may not be the leading scorer, their role may be defense. I'll let them understand when I see that and the ones that hustle I'll let them understand and point out to them your role, you don't have to be known for just scoring you can be known for your defense, you can be known for your hustle, you can be known for getting that steal that we need or making that good pass or dishing the ball off. We need role players and you've got to understand and be able to recognize what those role players are and the role players got to be able to recognize and accept their role."
King, right now, is just happy to be home and she looks forward to continuing her career where it all started.