LAFAYETTE — Even the annoyed version of University of Louisiana at Lafayette women’s basketball associate head coach Sallie Guillory makes Jaylyn Gordon enthusiastically smile.
Gordon hears her coach during practices and games — even when she is instructed to look away from the bench.
“She will say, ‘Jay get back! Don’t look at me! Just get back (on defense),’” Gordon said.
The sophomore shooting guard for the Cajuns is one of Guillory’s students. The others also hear their first names on a regular basis.
“Your coach will get on you,” Gordon said about the nature of sports. “Neither of them (Guillory nor head coach Garry Brodhead) will be mad for long. We laugh about it, but we also take it in.”
Before Guillory ever got excited about defense and became the associate head coach for the Cajuns, she was more interested in the offensive aspects of the game as a student at Lafayette High. It is a transition that Brodhead said is pretty typical for many coaches.
“The offense part is the most fun (for players), and it’s hard to work on your defense individually,” Brodhead said. “When you get into coaching, your philosophy changes. I saw how you could change the game with defense.”
Before Guillory hit her 21st birthday, Brodhead’s wife, Andrea, hired her as a Biddy Basketball coach. Then Guillory became an assistant coach at Teurlings Catholic under Brodhead. His belief in that decision was backed up within a day.
“The next day of practice, she was mopping the floor without being told,” Brodhead said. “Sallie would notice things that needed to be done ahead of time.”
When Brodhead accepted an assistant coaching position at McNeese State in 2007, Guillory stepped into the head coaching role at Teurlings. She was 23.
“That was a huge opportunity for them to give me that chance at age 23 at a great program,” Guillory said. “That experience was invaluable, and I have always been appreciative of Teurlings and Garry for that opportunity. I probably wasn’t ready for it, but I’m so thankful for that experience.”
When Guillory looks at the development of underclassmen such as freshman post player Simone Fields and Gordon, she realizes that progress takes time.
“The more you play in our defense, the more you get the overall goal of our defense,” Guillory said. “It is a little tougher for players (at first).”
Gordon averaged 22.3 points as a senior at West St. John. Gordon admitted that defense was not a big priority at that point.
“She (Guillory) builds my confidence,” Gordon said. “In high school, I never really played defense. Every time I messed up, she explained it.”
Gordon had 31 steals last season as a freshman. She has 59 steals this season.
There is also the possibility that Gordon, who averages 13.5 points and is the team leader in 3-pointers with 69, will hear the coaches yell her name for a different reason. She might get some grief when she passes up an open look at the basket.
“Our players know where my heart is,” Guillory said. “We just want the best for them. We coach them hard because we love them. We feel like we prepare them, so when they hear their names, they know exactly what we are looking for.”