Basketball is in her blood. So is coaching.
Just a few years separated from the high school court, Faith Conn is back. She’ll be on the sidelines this time as West Carter’s girls basketball coach.
The 23-year-old accepted the position with eager eyes on the near future. Led by electrifying sophomore-to-be Allie Stone, the Lady Comets are 16th Region contenders now.
“They’re just ball-smart,” Conn said of a team that’s produced back-to-back 16th Region semifinal showings. “They know how to rotate on defense, where to go next, always thinking ahead; most high school girls are not processing the game that way.”
Conn possesses just one year of coaching experience — she assisted her mother, Dr. Lisa Conn, at Kentucky Christian University last season. But she can’t remember not being around the game.
“Growing up, my mom was a (basketball) coach and my dad coached softball,” said Conn, whose uncle also coached her. “Basketball’s just always been my passion.”
Conn said she and her sister, Taylor (Conn) Dixon, always dreamed of coaching together. Taylor would direct volleyball while Faith would be in charge of basketball. It nearly worked out as the siblings planned. Taylor Dixon is at the helm of East Carter volleyball. And Conn is in the top seat for Lady Comets hoops.
When the East Carter girls basketball job vacancy occurred, Conn contemplated submitting an application. Instead, she just “didn’t feel it,” she said.
But when Aaron Rayburn resigned to become a pastor at Better Life Church in Grayson, Conn was intrigued.
Already an Algebra I teacher at West Carter, Conn overcame initial fear and applied. She remembered 2 Timothy 1:7 for inspiration.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind,” Conn quoted the verse. “When I felt fear, I knew it wasn’t from God. I thought about it and prayed about it a ton.”
Conn was a hoops standout for both Rowan County and KCU. She graduated from each school in 2014 and ’18, respectively. At KCU, she was a four-year starter, a three-year captain, a two-year All-American and was named the Mideast Region Player of the Year in 2017.
“The first year after you’re done playing, you miss it a ton,” Conn said. “But I love coaching. I love being able to pour back into the girls.”
Conn made all the offensive calls for KCU last season.
Conn said Rayburn “did so well with” the Lady Comets in his four-year reign, which will help make the transition smooth. Stone (20.3 ppg), Ragan Adkins, Kallie Burchett and Becca Nolen are returning regulars.
Conn said her age should be an advantage.
“Just knowing their mindset and being able to relate to them wil help a ton,” she said.
According to Conn, her coaching style won’t waver much from Rayburn’s.
“I think it will be similar,” she said. “I love the up-and-down (approach), love the speed. We’ll resemble that in a lot of ways.”
Conn recognizes pressure that accompanies the job, but she’s embracing West Carter’s “legacy of winning,” she said.
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