If West Virginia University-Parkersburg's intent was to instill energy into its women's basketball program, the school moved in the right direction by hiring Stacy Houser as head coach.
Before stepping into her current role with the Riverhawks, the 2006 Parkersburg South grad worked as a personal trainer. Even though she accepted the position only weeks prior to start of the fall semester, Houser didn't waste any time trying to get her players into basketball shape.
"Right away, they would tell me they were not in shape," Houser said. "There were a lot of 6 a.m. practices. I was not trying to punish them. Rather, I was trying to teach them discipline and not having excuses.
"Now that they've been conditioning for two months, it gets easier and they are enjoying it."
Houser's coaching resume includes stops with her alma mater under head coach Scott Stephens and as an assistant to Ohio Valley University women's coach Dave Wadlington.
"I knew I wanted to be a basketball coach ever since I was in high school," Houser said. "I do know it's not going to be easy - that if I don't put in the work, it's not going to happen."
With three games in the books, WVU-P still is searching for its first win of the 2012-13 campaign. The Riverhawks can end the drought Saturday at home against the Alderson-Broaddus junior varsity. Tipoff is set for 4 p.m.
The roster consists of eight members. All hail from the Mid-Ohio Valley, including Parkersburg South's Samantha Hicks, Carmen Cutlip, Jessica Moore and Kristiana Hunt. Trisha McGrotty and Whitney Miller both played at Parkersburg High, while Emry Goodwin and Hannah Nichols are Wirt County products.
"When I was at South and OVU, they were man-to-man teams - I'm trying to get us there," Houser said. "I want us to be all up-tempo, all the time. Right now, we're more zone. It's just a matter of getting us into shape. By December, we should be where we need to be as far as being in shape."
As a player, Houser started for South's first state girls state championship team. In the 2006 Class AAA title game, Houser finished with eight points and five rebounds as the third-ranked Patriots upset top-ranked Morgantown, 61-57.
Following high school graduation, Houser attended the University of Maryland and received her bachelor's degree in women studies and kinesiology. Earlier this year, she earned a master's degree in sports science at Ohio University.
For the past five years, Houser has worked with youth basketball programs at the Elite Sports Center, Wood County Athletic Commission, KOA Sports Academy (D.C./Virginia) and Eppley Recreation Center (University of Maryland).
Landing a head coaching position at WVU-P was ideal since it kept Houser in a community she loves.
Her assistant is Roger Ledbetter, who she met through her church several years ago. "He has never been a coach before, but I know what kind of guy he is and how he inspires people.''
Contact Kerry Patrick at email@example.com