Late in Howard's 45-44 victory at Tyner last Friday, there was a somewhat familiar scene. During a timeout, Terri Parks was seen coaching up players on the sideline, while other coaches offered advice and players listened.
Then the buzzer sounded ending the timeout, and Parks sat back down on the bench. The Howard bench.
After 13 seasons coaching for Tyner, Parks was relieved of her duties directing the basketball Lady Rams. Her stint included more than 200 wins and a trip to the state tournament, but she was told that the administration was moving in "another direction."
She was offered an assistant's job at Howard under head coach Ashley Wilbur, one she took after a lot of prayer and deliberation.
"I wasn't going to coach this year," Parks said. "But [Howard principal] Dr. Paul Smith is like a little brother to me, and he came to me and asked if I would come over and help them here at Howard. The girls have been wonderful and took me in with open arms, and it's a blessing. I've enjoyed watching them get better and better."
Parks still teaches at Tyner and was looking forward to the opportunity to work with the eight seniors currently on the Lady Rams squad. It was because of that she considered the win over Tyner last Friday "bittersweet."
"It was a weird situation," she said. "I love those kids; I worked with them since their freshman year and was looking forward to it.
"I was happy for the win, but at the same time I was sad because I was hurting for the [Tyner] girls."
The Lady Hustlin' Tigers are one of three 6-AA teams unblemished in district play, on top of their 4-0 record thus far. Parks also has been a help to Wilbur, who is in her third year of coaching.
"She's helped me see a lot of things I didn't know, and ways I can improve my program," Wilbur said. "It's beneficial for a young coach to have somebody who's been in the game for a long time, and she's very helpful in game-time situations."
Some coaches might not have been humble enough to step aside and watch Parks take over during that late-game timeout last week. Don't count Wilbur among them.
"I think at that moment, it was crunch time and she had something in the bag to help us pull out the win," she said. "It wasn't about ego at that moment; it was moreso about the girls and making sure they closed out in the perfection. She had something designed for that moment in the game.
"To me, it wasn't a big deal. I was able to step back, watch and learn. Now I'll know what to do the next time."
The Hustlin' Tigers are off to a good start and have higher goals this season in hoping to change the culture from previous seasons.
"We're on a mission this year, and every win is something we want more than anybody else," Wilbur said.
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