Caldwell High School
Conference: 4A Southern Idaho Conference
Head Coach: William Rodgers
Years as Head Coach: 1st season
Previous Experience: Three years as assistant at Nampa
Record Last Year: 4-17
State Titles: Won 4A title in 2001 under Andy Jones
Written by: Chris Langrill
The Caldwell High girls basketball team is under new leadership.
Coach William Rodgers spent the past three seasons as an assistant coach at Nampa High before joining the Cougars prior to this season.
Rodgers takes over a program that went 4-17 last season, but that doesn't mean he is going to settle for mediocrity in his first year.
“Caldwell has been down a little bit, so I'm excited to see what these girls can do,” Rodgers said. “Coming into a program, you have to set your goals high. If you set them too low you might reach them, and that's not always a good thing.
“So I talked to the girls about breaking the cycle, and our focus is to go to state. That's our goal, that's our team goal. We break with that all the time: 'State'. We'll let the chips fall where they may, but that should be every team's goal. It's not to win one more game than we did last year.”
And Rodgers is convinced his team has the tools to make strides.
“We only lost two seniors last year, so there are many returning players with varsity experience,” he said. “I think with the group of girls I have it's just about doing it.”
Among those players are junior Lissett Saenz and senior Koralee Bower at the guard position, and senior wing Tamika Russell.
“The goal is to build up the confidence and relax a little bit,” he said. “One thing I'd like this group to do is be able to control the tempo of the game. A lot of times you have a certain group that can run. You get the ball to an outlet and you run and push the ball and get a fast break going."
“But with this group we'll have to control that a little bit. There will be certain teams we'll be able to run on and there's certain teams we won't be able to. But we need to play with the confidence and worry about what we're tying to do and not be so worried about what everybody else is trying to do.”
Rodgers thinks he has the players to come at teams with a couple of different offensive philosophies.
“We're going to utilize our posts, and sometimes to do that you need to slow the tempo down a little bit so they can get in position and we can run an offense through them,” he said. “But we have another group I can put in there and run.”
And don't expect the Cougars to be one dimensional on defense.
“I'm a defensive-minded coach, and I want to run five or six defensive sets in a game,” he said.
Rodgers, who played basketball at Capital High (he graduated in 1990), knows that executing his systems will take some time.
But that doesn't temper his enthusiasm for the season ahead.
“I'm very excited,” he said. “I love basketball and I want to give back to basketball. I'm really excited to help these girls reach their potential.
“I'm a little nervous, I'm not going to lie. But I'm excited for what we can do and I'm ready to get rolling.”