Paulsell to take on Monett's challenge

Friday, June 5, 2015
Alyssa Paulsell, center, has been hired as the next girls basketball coach at Monett High School. Contributed photo

Lady Cubs basketball hires new coach from Central Methodist

Monett High School is hoping the third time is the charm in its coaching search for a leader of the girls basketball program.

The district has hired Alyssa Paulsell, former Central Methodist University coach, will be the next coach of the Lady Cubs.

Paulsell is the third head coach of the program in the last four seasons.

"Alyssa is a high-energy style coach," said Daryl Bradley, Monett athletic director. "She understands where the program is now, where we want it to be and how much work it will take to get there. We had a very good interview and believe that she is the right person for the job."

The district had 10 candidates for the opening created after Bradley said Kelly George unexpectedly stepped down at the end of the season.

Of the 10 potential candidates, the district interviewed four before settling on Paulsell.

George was 6-54 in three seasons at the helm. Bradley said she inherited a short-handed and young team and made progress in her first two years, winning just one game in year one and five in year two.

However, the Lady Cubs ran the table in reverse this season, going 0-21. The team only had two seniors and, at times, played three sophomores and two freshmen for extended minutes.

"I'm excited about the challenge that awaits me," Paulsell said. "I know that there is a tremendous amount of work to do, and that the road will take a while to smooth out, but I wouldn't be here if I didn't like challenges."

One of the hurdles Paulsell is already meeting head-on is increasing the program numbers, not just at the high school level, but hopefully all the way down to the elementary level.

"You can't have a program where girls are just getting introduced and excited about basketball in seventh, eighth or ninth grade," she said. "We need girls excited about playing the game in the third grade. That way, they have played four, five, six years before I get them.

"If a coach is instilling a primary love for the game in high school, the program will always struggle."

Paulsell prepped at Ozark High School and graduated in 2007, where she won two state basketball titles in 2005 and 2006.

She earned a Bachelor's degree in Biology from Drury in 2011 and a Master's degree in Education from Lindenwood University in 2013.

She spent three seasons as an assistant girls' basketball coach, and one as interim head coach, at Willard High School before coaching two seasons at Hollister and one year at Ava High School.

In 2014, Paulsell was named the South Central Association's Coach of the Year for leading the Lady Bears to a conference championship and district runner-up finish.

Paulsell left Ava to be an assistant coach with the Central Methodist University's (CMU) women's basketball program. She assisted in all day-to-day operations and focused on development of post players, administered CMU's Fast Break Club, conducted individual skill development sessions and assist in recruiting.

Paulsell believes those experiences will help her succeed at Monett.

"From day one, we are going to ground ourselves into becoming fundamentally sound," Paulsell said. "We are going to attend a couple of shootouts, but the work that needs to be done to improve can only come from us being at home and focusing on the basics."

One area on concern the district had was finding a coach that was willing to be here for the long term, not just one or two seasons.

Paulsell said she has no plans to leave anytime soon.

On Saturday, she is set to marry Chris Kennedy, who is the new athletic director at Wheaton High School.

"I've never done anything the easy way," Paulsell said. "New job, new husband, new life, new team -- I am ready for the challenge."

Paulsell will teach high school science at Monett. Her base salary, according to Patty Leach, administrative assistant to the superintendent and the school board, is $53,976, which includes a $47,298 base salary and a coaching stipend of $6,678.

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