Kayla Gilliam takes over as Kelly Walsh varsity girls basketball head coach
CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - Kayla Gilliam always had a “gut feeling” that she would get into coaching. The Cottonwood Elementary teacher said she felt like she needed to be patient for the right opportunity.
“When the [Kelly Walsh varsity girls basketball] job was posted, I kind of felt my heart tell me to go for it,” said Gilliam inside the Kelly Walsh gym earlier this week.
On April 27, Kelly Walsh High School revealed on Twitter that the 2010 Trojan alum would become the new head varsity girl’s basketball coach. She became the 13th different person to hold the title.
This will be Gilliam’s first time coaching high school basketball. She said it was “an honor” to be a Trojan again, and that it was something that she took very seriously during her time walking the halls of Kelly Walsh as a student.
“One of my past coaches, when I got the job, said, ‘Once a Trojan, always a Trojan,’” said Gilliam. “And I think that really rings true when you’re a part of Kelly Walsh, you’re a part of a family, and you’re a part of a home. And I’m just really, really honored to be back home.”
While an athlete at Kelly Walsh, Gilliam (Fakelman then) was a two-time 4A all-state selection on the hardwood and won Miss Wyoming Basketball in 2010. She also earned two all-state selections in volleyball and three all-state honors in soccer. She went on to play college basketball at Colorado Christian.
“I think that I can really relate to these girls and just tell them like, ‘Hey I’ve been in your shoes. I know what it’s like when we’re succeeding. I know what it’s like when we’re having down times.’ And so I think just relating to them that no matter what it looks like we can control how much effort we give and how good of a teammate we are.”
Gilliam said she was excited about the player development aspect of being a head coach. She also said she looked forward to “growing these girls’ love for the game.”
“I was really lucky to have incredible coaches when I played here, and then in college, the caliber of coaches that I had access to was phenomenal and so just using that basketball experience to coach these girls is going to be huge. It’s gonna be a team effort, a staff effort, and I’m excited to lead it.”
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