Spending a few years away raising her family, Coach Jaicee Powers will be heading back to Empire to become the Lady Bulldogs head basketball coach.
Powers was an assistant coach at Empire back in 2005. She also spent some time at Bray-Doyle High School and Velma-Alma then raising her three kids before the opportunity came to come back in the coaching ranks.
“Basketball has always been a big part of my life, sports in general has been a big part of my life,” Powers said. “I loved my time here. They were super good to us and we enjoyed it. They have a strong sense of community out there.”
After being home raising her daughter and twin boys, who are starting school in August, Powers wanted to get back into teaching and heard about the job opening at Empire High School.
Throwing her name into the application process, she interviewed with the superintendent, high school principal and the elementary principal and felt like it was a good fit to come back to coaching.
A season ago Empire had a record of 24-5, then had a couple of players graduate and a few players also leave the team. Powers attended a few games and liked what she saw.
“They have been solid the last couple of years and I’ve been to a few games here and there with my family,” Powers said. “We did lose some seniors and some different players that did play big roles on the team, but we also have some upperclassmen like juniors and seniors that are returning that have showed some great leadership this summer.”
Powers has worked with the team since being hired in May 2019 and also gave credit to the underclassmen she worked with as she believes they are enthusiastic and hard working kids.
“This summer I felt like to me that is what team camps are about. You want to create that chemistry and you want to get the girls comfortable with each other,” Powers said. “You also want to bring in your younger kids and get them some varsity experience and get them experience playing with the upperclassmen, get them more comfortable on the court.”
Crediting the juniors and seniors for stepping up and helping the younger freshman and sophomores come into their roles, Powers has some high expectations for the Empire Lady Bulldogs.
“My expectations of these girls are high as they are always are. I am someone who always wants to shoot for the stars and that is what I want them to do. With that comes the day-to-day work, you got to put in the work. So far I have seen the girls do that and we have … big aspirations,” Powers said. “Really, you got to break that down to what your day-to-day goals and aspirations are so we are going to take it one day at a time and one game at a time. In my opinion, the wins and losses will take care of themselves as long as you are taking care of your business and striving to be the best you can be as a player and teammate. I’m excited for November to roll around and I’m excited to get in the gym with them and start working hard to see those goals and dreams come to fruition.”
The Empire Lady Bulldogs season will start in November. The schedule will be released later as they are finalizing the games for the 2019-2020 school year.