The first call University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women's basketball coach Katie Burrows would make after any game was to her older sister, Kristen Clounch, to discuss the outcome and strategy and seek an honest critique. So when an assistant coach's job opened on UTC's staff, Burrows again made a call to her sister.
Clounch, who for more than two decades has coached numerous sports at Lookout Valley — the sisters' high school alma mater — agreed she was ready for a new challenge and has accepted the offer to join the Mocs' staff.
"She's always at every one of our games, coaching from the stands, and she's the person I've trusted to give me an honest opinion about how we're playing," Burrows said. "She knows me, knows our program and has experience working as someone who develops players at the high school and AAU level for many years.
"Honestly, I never thought this would be an option because she's a lot like my dad in that she's been connected to Lookout Valley for so long that I thought she wanted to stay in one place for her whole career."
The sisters' dad, Joe Galloway, spent 45 years as a coach and athletic administrator at Lookout Valley and another eight years on the Hamilton County school board.
Burrows and Clounch will be the second set of siblings currently working together on the same UTC coaching staff, joining wrestling head coach Kyle Ruschell and his brother T.J., who is an assistant. Clounch replaces Debbie Black, who is leaving the program after four years as an assistant.
Last season Clounch worked as Lookout Valley's athletic director and girls' basketball coach, and in her 21-year prep coaching career she has also coached the school's boys' basketball team as well as softball and volleyball.
She also coached her younger sister when Burrows was a five-year starter and Tennessee Miss Basketball finalist at Lookout Valley, helping the Lady Yellow Jackets reach the state tournament in 2000.
"This will be the first time we will work together on the same staff, but we have talked basketball all our lives," Clounch said. "We're similar in a lot of ways, but I'm also different in that I'm more analytical and detail oriented. That probably comes with my math background, but I've just always been someone who analyzes the game overall and each player's role.
"I knew I could've spent the rest of my career at Lookout Valley and been happy with where I was, but once we started talking about the possibility of working together, I realized this is a challenge that I'm excited for. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I'm looking forward to forming relationships with these athletically gifted ladies and trying to help make them better players."
Prior to joining the UTC staff as an assistant 10 years ago, Burrows herself came from the high school ranks, where she coached at Ringgold, Tullahoma and GPS. She was promoted to head coach of the Mocs in May 2018 after Jim Foster retired.
"Obviously when you bring a family member onto your staff, it would only be natural for someone to think that I would put more stock into what she says," said Burrows, whose team finished last season 14-10 overall and third in the Southern Conference standings. "That's not the case, because I value the opinion of all our assistants. This was just an opportunity to bring on another perspective that I trust and believe will make us stronger overall.
"I know that most young assistants are working toward having their own program to run one day, but having Kristen here gives us someone that I know isn't looking to leave. That consistency will be big for what we're building.
"If anyone questions this hire because she hasn't coached at the college level, I would just say that basketball is basketball and she is one of the smartest coaches I've ever come across anywhere. She's a great teacher of the game who knows how to relate to players, and now she can take her knowledge and apply it to players who have so much talent."