Pollard Steps Away From Lady Plainsmen Basketball Program
After three seasons leading the Laramie Lady Plainsmen basketball program head coach Laura Pollard has decided to resign.
She made her decision after last Thursday night’s loss in the 4A East Regional Championships at Laramie High School. Pollard informed her varsity team of her choice after the game and more were notified during a team meeting last Friday.
KOWB’s David Settle spoke with Coach Laura Pollard and asked why she made this decision now. Pollards said many factors played in to it.
“I got really tired… If all I had to do is coach I’d be okay, but I have a full-time job, my husband is on dialysis, so it just took a toll on me.”
In her three years, Pollard finished with a 36-38 overall record, which included a 13-19 mark in the 4A East Conference. Laramie made one appearance at the state tournament. That came at the end of the 2017 season. The Lady Plainsmen went 1-2 at state that year and lost tough games in the semifinals and for third place.
Pollard said she kind of came full circle with the job here. She had been on Paul Street’s staff in the late 80’s and also put together an AAU team. One of the players on that squad was Meg Thompson, who Pollard credits with bringing her back to Laramie.
“I feel like I’m leaving as fast as I came in, even though it’s been three years. I just think it was good. This time around since I had really kind of finished my career, so I thought, I could focus really a lot more on the kids, and that was my whole goal.”
Pollard admitted she evaluated where the program was at when she made her decision.
“My first year was a building year. There were some things where I was getting used to the kids, and they were getting used to me, so it was a building year. Still, I think we won nine games. Then, last year, of course, because of that building year, I had those six seniors and still had Lexi Pulley and Jen Aadland, and we did what we did. We turned everything around and went to the state tournament.”
Pollard felt that she did want to make changes in year three.
“Going back to this year, I kind of started over again. I only had Jen and Lexi. I think one of the things I knew I had to do that I didn’t do last year was I needed to put more people on the varsity. At least get them in the varsity practices, and I’m really glad that I did that.”
She referenced the talented freshman class that Laramie has some of the progress made by the likes of Kylee Cox, DaiJane Giron and Kayla Vasquez, as well as junior Lauren Sylvestre and sophomore Josie Elder.
“Now they’re excited about basketball. They’re going to play some club basketball… that was my whole goal was to get girls basketball back on the map… in Laramie I know we have a lot of two, three-sport athletes, but this year we got people in the program that want to play basketball and make it their first sport.”
Pollard believes she left the program in a good state and realizes they’re young, but a lot of them got some significant playing time. She feels that will be a benefit for the future.
Her highlight of each year was getting better; getting the kids more focused; getting the kids more interested in basketball. She was impressed by what the kids did.
Laramie High School Assistant Principal and Athletic Director Jeremy Qualls reaction was one of some disappointment.
“I think she’s done a great job. She has a great relationship with the kids and the parents. Anytime you lose a coach, resignation, things like that, that quick, it’s a little surprising, somewhat disappointing at times.”
Qualls said they will begin a search for a replacement immediately. He says knowing that June is a key month in the off-season, there’s a lot of work to do before then.
As for what they’ll be looking for in a new candidate, Qualls says, “Obviously the main part of this job is working with kids and building those relationships with kids, so I think that’s going to be the main thing. Coming in and being able to establish that rapport, and also just understanding the amount of work that goes into something like this. I know Coach (Pollard) put in a lot of work watching film, a lot of time outside of the season, and that’s something that I think somebody has to be prepared for and willing to do.”
Qualls said it’s about finding the best candidate that we can that’s best for the kids and the program.