Sparks introduced as Glencoe girls basketball coach
Tue. July 23, 2013 at 11:07 p.m. | By Nick Johnston Sports Writer
New Glencoe girls basketball coach Yvette Sparks speaks to her players and fans in Glencoe on Tuesday. (Photo by Nick Johnston | Gadsden Times | File)
GLENCOE — Yvette Sparks was introduced as the new Glencoe High School girls basketball coach Tuesday.
Sparks was hired after spending two seasons as an assistant coach for the Jacksonville State University women’s basketball team and replaces John Blackwell, who resigned last month after 18 seasons with the program.
“I can’t wait to get started,” Sparks told a large group of Yellow Jacket supporters in the high school gym Tuesday. “I’m just really happy to be here. You have a beautiful community, beautiful school and I absolutely love the support.”
Sparks, who will teach science, inherits a program that is used to success.
Under Blackwell, the Yellow Jackets went 370-161 and reached the postseason 15 times.
They won 10 area championships and advanced to the Northeast Regional tournament at Jacksonville State nine times.
Glencoe won eight Etowah County tournament championships during Blackwell’s tenure.
It’s going to be a bit of an adjustment for Sparks, who for most of her career has coached in the college ranks. She coached at Lauderdale (Fla.) High School at the beginning of her career, which she described as “many moons ago.”“I’ve heard wonderful things about this group of young ladies, and that they’re very hard workers,” Sparks said.
Sparks met with the team prior to addressing Glencoe supporters.
“I didn’t have anything scripted,” Sparks said. “I just wanted them to be able to introduce themselves to me and me introduce myself to them. I told them my expectations and we’ll wait to see their strengths before we establish what system we’re going to (run).”
Principal Charlton Giles likes Sparks’ energetic personality, and her resumé speaks for itself.
“She had a better coaching background than any of our applicants,” Giles said. “She has an outgoing, positive attitude that seems like it will be contagious with our students and in particular our basketball players.”
Sally Tinker, a rising junior for the Yellow Jackets, likes Sparks’ style.
“She’s going to be real fun to be around,” she said. “I feel like we’re going to have a successful year.”
Maddie Osborne, another junior-to-be, echoed that sentiment.
“She was very energetic and excited about coaching,” Osborne said of what the team’s first meeting with Sparks was like. “She will be a good addition to our program. She loves basketball like we all do. I think it will be good.”
Prior to arriving as an assistant coach at JSU, Sparks spent a year at Davidson Academy in Nashville, Tenn., where she served as the women’s basketball and volleyball coach. She arrived at Davidson Academy after spending four seasons as an assistant coach at Belmont. During her time there, the Bruins reached the NCAA Tournament after winning the Atlantic Sun tourney title. She was an assistant at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania before leaving for Belmont. Her first head coaching job came at Malone College in Canton, Ohio, in 2001. She led the Pioneers to a 37-23 record during her two-year tenure.
Sparks graduated from Clearwater (Fla.) Christian College in 1994. She went on to earn her masters in sports science from Valdosta State in 1998, where she was on the Lady Blazer staff from 1996-2001, including a stint as interim head coach.
Sparks is married to Jeff Sparks, and they have a 7-year-old daughter named Kara.