Recently I had a chat with the University of Mississippi’s communications specialist, Ty Wooten, and the euphoria surrounding the presence of Grand Bahama’s Coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin on campus, in the capacity of chief of the women’s basketball program, was emphasized.
“We are really happy to have her here. We are all looking forward to the new season and our hopes are high,’ said Wooten, as we spoke about the upcoming schedule, during which the high expectation is that Coach Yo will lead the Lady Rebels out of the doldrums, a period of bottom-of-the-ladder performances, to Southeastern Conference prominence.
Last season, the Rebels finished just 1-15 (.063 winning percentage) in the prestigious conference and just 13-19 (.387 winning percentage) overall last season. The SEC has 14 members, inclusive of the following schools outside of Ole Miss: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana State University, Mississippi State, Missouri, South Carolina (the defending conference championship team), Tennessee, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt.
The power teams in the SEC, at this time, based particularly on last season, are Mississippi State (16-0 SEC and 37-2 overall), South Carolina (12-4 SEC and 29-7 overall), Georgia (12-4 SEC and 26-7 overall), Tennessee (11-5 SEC and 25-8 overall), Missouri (11-5 SEC and 24-8 overall), Texas A&M (11-5 SEC and 26-10 overall), LSU (11-5 SEC and 19-10 overall).
The aforementioned, collectively, is what Coach Yo and her Lady Rebels force will be up against at they seek to recapture the Ole Miss brilliance of the past. The Ole Miss Lady Rebels achieved National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) tournament status consecutively from the 1980-81 season to 1991-92; and six more times in subsequent years with the last appearance being following the 2006-07 season.
It is from this backdrop that Coach Yo is confronted with her greatest challenge as a coach at the highest level (NCAA Division 1).
Coach Yo embarked on a furious campaign immediately after she signed on to become, historically for The Bahamas, the first head coach at a major NCAA institution. She not only sought out key basketball players, but the exuberant and detailed basketball mentor also put together an assistant team around her.
By her demeanor when we talked, and based on Coach Yo’s comments otherwise, Ole Miss is now fortified and poised for the women’s basketball program to be enhanced dramatically. Her infectious nature has spilled over onto her school associates and in general, the Ole Miss campus.
Thus, it is anticipated that a breakthrough season is about to unfold for the Ole Miss Lady Rebels.
I’m of the view that Ty Wooten and his communications colleagues at Ole Miss will have a lot of good reports to produce. Coach Yo has been a success story thus far. Most recently, she turned around the program at Jacksonville University. In five years, the young lady who came out of the HOYTES Development Program, operated for the last three-plus decades by her father, Coach Gladstone “Moon” McPhee, guided Jacksonville to three consecutive 20-plus win seasons, an Atlantic Sun Conference championship and a NCAA berth.
Now her success background is on the line as Ole Miss gets ready for the 2018-2019 season. Following an exhibition game on Friday, November 2 against LeMoyne-Owen, the main schedule will begin on November 6 against Norfolk State. The first SEC match of the new season for Ole Miss will be at Missouri on January 3.
Let’s support this daughter of the soil as she endeavors to boost the Bahamas sports brand through her efforts at Ole Miss.
Go Coach Yo!