Bowling Green destined for another successful season under Head
Editor’s note: This story was written for the 2018 Sporting Times basketball preview magazine, which is currently on newsstands throughout Bowling Green and surrounding areas.
Calvin Head knew what he was tasked with when hired as the new Bowling Green girls’ basketball coach last August.
He would be taking over a dominant program that competed for both District 14 and Region 4 championships each year. He would be the last high school coach for standout guard Keely Morrow. He would have to silence the drama stemming from a situation involving the former Lady Purples’ coach.
With expectations high and much to deal with, Head mastered it all in his first season at the helm.
“It was a very special season for all involved,” Head told The Sporting Times. “Getting hired late and having to put together a staff, as well as getting acquainted with the players and implementing a brand-new system was very challenging. We were very blessed with a great group of ladies who bought into what we wanted to accomplish.
“It was amazing to watch the growth of all of our young ladies in such a short period of time.”
Challenging? It sure didn’t seem that way.
Bowling Green put together a standout 2017-18 campaign under its first-year coach, winning 20 games, finishing as the District 14 Tournament runner-up, capturing the Region 4 Tournament title in unbelievable fashion and advancing to the Girls’ Sweet Sixteen at Northern Kentucky University.
Facing South Warren – a team that had won 31 games entering the night – in the regional final at E.A. Diddle Arena, the Lady Purples found themselves trailing 50-37 with 4:57 remaining. Instead of giving up and losing hope, Bowling Green went on a commanding 22-1 run to earn an intriguing 59-51 win over the Spartans.
“It is really hard to put into words just how crazy the final five minutes of that game was,” Head said. “Everything happened so fast. Our girls did an amazing job continuing to fight through adversity and never gave up. In each timeout, we continued to encourage them to dig a little deeper and fight a little harder – and they did just that.
“A 22-1 run with 4:57 remaining on the clock will be something I will never forget – and neither will many others.”
In that emotional championship victory, Head wore a pin on the outside of his blazer. What was on that pin, you ask? It was a photo of his father, Ray Head Jr., who passed away on July 4, 2016.
Head said following the game that he wore the pin all season long the previous year as coach at Russellville and made the region tournament for the first time as a coach. He didn’t wear it all throughout last season, but his sister told him to wear it for the big game – and that’s what Head did.
Some would label Mr. Ray a good luck charm.
“My dad was one of my biggest fans. He always tried to come and support anything I did,” said Head. “My last season at Russellville, I wore his pin every game, as that was the first season that I would coach with him not in the stands. After the regional semifinals, my sister told me that she would not be able to make it to the finals and wished me good luck and to ‘do it for dad.’ That comment was a sign for me to wear his pin.
“I definitely felt his presence that night. I watched my dad sacrifice on a daily basis so that my siblings and myself could have everything we needed growing up. I strive daily to give back to others as my father did so many times in his lifetime.”
With a successful first season under his belt and his father always looking down on him, Head’s excitement level is very high entering his second season at Bowling Green.
Although the Lady Purples graduated Morrow, they return a handful of talent – beginning with versatile point guard Taylor Ragland. Playing a big role in Bowling Green’ success a season ago, Ragland – a senior – will step into an even bigger leadership role this year.
Along with Ragland, Head said he is expecting major contributions out of senior forward T’Alla Brown, junior guard Keyozdon Jones and many others.
“We have a great group of young ladies for the 2018-19 season,” said Head. “These young ladies have been committed to getting in the gym and working on their game. We are extremely proud of their efforts thus far. We are also excited about the two new additions to our coaching staff in Dwayne Murray and Kelsey Kirkpatrick. They have already made a huge impact on our program in just a short period of time.”