COAHOMA - Four years ago Caitlyn Corley knew what she wanted to do after high school. On Monday morning at the Coahoma High School auditorium, it became a reality when the Coahoma senior signed an agreement to play basketball for the Sul Ross State University Lobos.
Sul Ross is a Division III school in Alpine. It plays in the American Southwest Conference and Katherine Novak is the women’s head basketball coach.
Corley, who plans to major in physical therapy, said Sul Ross is a good fit for her.
"I had other schools contact me by e-mail, but I visited Sul Ross and I liked the place," Corley said. "I felt comfortable, at home there. I love coach Novak. I like what she's trying to do with the program, turn it around. I feel she's thinking about the best interest of the team."
Novak said Corley is a "great find" for her team.
"I think Caitlyn Corley is going to be a great fit for our program," she said. "She is a natural competitor. She is hungry to win and get better and obviously has the skills to play at the next level."
Novak, Coahoma ISD Athletic Director Chris Joslin and Coahoma girls basketball coach Jim Kinnear all agree that it's Corley's drive that makes her special.
"She very dedicated and works very hard. She makes a lot of sacrifices. One of her goals was to make it to the next level,” Kinnear said.
"She is an awesome person and athlete," said Joslin. We challenged all of our athletes to commit to summer conditioning every day. Caitlyn took a big step in encouraging all the girls to show up and participate. She plays every sport we offer and excels at every one. Sul Ross is getting a great person as well as a great athlete.”
Novak already has plans for Corley.
"My plans are to play her at a point guard position first. She has the ability to play off guard as well. She will add toughness to our team. Another aspect about Caitlyn's game that really stands out is her leadership ability. She is very vocal on both ends of the court and vocal high school players always have an easier time transitioning to college," Novak said.
The 5-foot-8 Corley has participated in basketball, volleyball, track and field and softball throughout her career. Last year she was first team All-District in 5-3A in basketball. This year, she has led Coahoma to one its best basketball starts in recent history.
The Bulldogettes are 7-2, coming off a second place finish at the O.W. Follis tournament in Lamesa last weekend. Corley is averaging 12 points per contest.
"My freshman year I decided I wanted to play college basketball. Everybody told me I couldn't do it," said Corley. "I come from a small school with not much basketball tradition. I wanted to prove everybody wrong."
Indeed, she did.
(Photo taken by Megan Ditto, CISD Technology Director.)