by Cameron Hurst
March 11, 2020
Learning From The Best
It’s a half-hour before Dave Turnbull’s 6 p.m. practice at the Southwestern high school gymnasium.
Smiles are abundant among the Trojans players and coaches making their way into the gymnasium on Hunt Road one day after their 64-40 victory over Eden to clinch their third-straight Section VI Class B-2 title.
As Turnbull sits, readying himself to reflect on the historic season his program has had, one of his assistant coaches makes her way over to share a note from the game. She writes it down on Turnbull’s practice sheet.
The Trojans head coach — as he has been all season — is all ears to the suggestion.
Because, when it comes to girls basketball and winning championships at Southwestern, who can argue with Kay Gould?
“She has no qualms about giving me her input,” Turnbull says with a laugh regarding the former Southwestern head coach — the last to lead the program to at least three-straight Section VI titles.
“First of all, I love the game,” Gould said. “Second of all, it’s so much fun to be around good kids. … It keeps you young. … Kids who will work hard because the program has an established standard of excellence, that fits me.”
An inaugural inductee of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame, the 74-year-old Gould remains a living women’s basketball legend. In six years at Southwestern, she posted a 94-10 record while leading the Trojans to four consecutive sectional titles from 1975-79. Her success continued at Allegheny College where she coached both basketball and softball, leading the Lady Gators to 104 victories, three conference titles and three NCAA Division III tournament appearances.
But, upon seeing a photograph of one of those Southwestern teams, the memories rush back.
“They were great teams,” she said of the squads led by Sheilah Lingenfelter, Nancy Gaden, Sandy Alexander and Karen Anderson, among others.
“We were averaging mid-60s a game and didn’t have a 3-point shot,” she said. “We could only go to the sectional championship. That was it. And at that point, I had a 41-game winning streak which would have never happened today because today only one team only wins all their games in a year. We had some good teams, believe me. They were run and press teams, but there is a huge difference in that today for those kids to be able to be showcased.”
In 1986, she became the athletic director at Jamestown High School before becoming principal at Maple Grove Junior-Senior High School in 1993, eventually relocating to South Carolina to work in human resources before her retirement to Florida.
She returned to Western New York in recent years to care for her mother, Doris Rendell, who passed away in April.
“When my mom had gotten sick a couple of years back, I had been coming back and forth a lot,” she said. “When she passed away this last spring, Dave invited me to come and work with the girls and I thought, ‘OK, we’ll try it a little bit.'”
Turnbull had been a student of Gould’s at Southwestern Middle School during the Trojans’ four-year run.
” I just kept telling her: you’ve got to come on board,” Turnbull said. “I think both of us are really strong personalities. I never had a doubt though that it would be great for the kids.”
And, it has been.
“She’d come in, in the summer and it would be hilarious because the kids were like, ‘Where’s Coach Gould? Where is she?'” Turnbull said. “We have a ‘Gould shooting drill.’ That’s what we call it. We’ve implemented a couple things that we do routinely. We do other drills before a game that she put in.”
“It’s been so much fun,” Gould added. “It’s a great program. Dave does just a phenomenal job and I can do the things I enjoyed doing in volunteering. I love to work on shooting and different form things.”
Gould’s influence has also reached other members of the coaching staff.
Bri Davis, who played for Turnbull at Maple Grove before finishing her playing career last year at Penn-State Behrend, is in her first year of coaching with her former coach and has relished in the opportunity to learn about the craft by also being able to work with both her and Turnbull.
“It’s awesome because (Turnbull) is the reason I played four years at college and I look up to him immensely,” Davis said. “And, with what (Gould) has to offer with just her little fundamental things and all the smaller and important things, it’s been such a great year.”
“It’s a great combination,” Gould said. “She brings a lot of youth, a lot of experience and a lot of recent playing.”
“We really span the spectrum,” Turnbull said. “I couldn’t be luckier. I would say, without question, we have the best coaching staff in the area.”
Though generational differences exist on his coaching staff, all three are able to do their part in stressing the fundamentals.
“With all of the differences, (Gould) was a run-and-press team, we’re a run-and-press team,” Turnbull said. “She’s working on the fundamentals of things every single day, just like I try to do. I think what we found when we started working together was that we did a lot of the same drills, but we had different terminology.”
“Running a fast break, a press or beating out a zone or whatever — all of those principles still apply.” Gould added. “There are just a lot of little tweaks right now and defensive kind of things because of the 3-point shot. Those are the things that have developed. Because of those things, the game is a little more advanced.”
Still, even though the game has changed, the passion attached to it has stayed the same for the Allegheny and SUNY Brockport Hall of Famer — especially in the midst of Sunday’s triumph.
“It was almost emotional for me,” she said, describing being a part of Southwestern’s sectional victory. “For me, it’s just been fun to be a little part of another sectional championship team, especially for these kids because they’ve really worked hard to get here.”
“We’ve put this team together piece by piece this year,” Turnbull added. “It’s taken a lot longer, but it’s probably been the most special of the three. We’re very young. We’ve played our best basketball the last eight games of the season without question.”
“Everyone’s learning their roles and now that they have, they’re really coming together,” Davis added.
Now the Trojans have another chance at a Far West Regional berth — something Gould never had the opportunity to lead her team to. But, that road will go through Class B-1 champion Dunkirk, whom the Trojans will face for the third time this season at 5:15 p.m. today at Buffalo State.
“They have a very athletic team,” Turnbull said of the Marauders. “We have to run the floor, we have to get back in transition and we make our free throws. It’s going to boil down to the fundamentals and that’s what it always ends up coming down to, but maybe more so in this game than any of the other ones.”
“We played two really good games with them this year,” he added, “and we’re hoping that the third time is a charm.”
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