Speeding up the court
Cory Medina is looking to rev up the Lady Jacks’ offense and defense this season.
The first-year girls basketball head coach is no stranger to speed. He cornered that market while a Jackrabbit in the late ’90s.
He holds school records in the 100-, 200- and 400-meter dashes. He has trained, competed and won at both the high school and college levels. He even coaches the sprinters in the spring.
But Medina has switched gears, at least for the winter months. The 1999 QHS graduate is looking to speed up the girls basketball team.
“I want to do stuff that hasn’t been done,” Medina said. “I guess stuff that hasn’t been done in a while. I want to push the ball. I want to be aggressive on defense. What I see is a lot of speed. Maybe it’s because I am a speed coach.”
Previously, Medina coached junior varsity for four years and C-squad for a year. He also played three years in high school.
“I’ve always loved basketball,” he said. “I haven’t been the best at it, but I loved it.
“Everyone can see you. You are right there. The fans are right there behind you. You can show off your moves.”
When Medina applied for the head coaching position, it was his third attempt. So consider his new appointment a study of the tortoise and the hare. In the past, Medina has been the hare; however, after being overlooked for the position the past two seasons, he found steady wins the race. You could call it persistence or even fate.
You could also ask his 3-year-old daughter Mia. She might just tell you “Team Medina never gives up.
But Medina looks at the past two seasons as an opportunity to grow.
“Looking back at it I’m glad I did not get it the first time, and I am glad I did not get it the second time,” Medina said. “I have learned tons. The past three months I studied a lot.”
He entered the interview for the third time with a new-found confidence and was ready for any question.
“I did so much studying,” he said. “I knew what I was going to say and anything they would ask or what they would come up with.”
In coaching young women, Medina has found the Xs and Os are important, but girls sports require another layer to be successful.
“A lot of it was how to get the kids to be a team,” he said. “Boys grow together in battle, and girls have to get to know each other before they go into battle. They have to trust one another. I think that’s what’s been missing.”
In his preparation, Medina also studied different plays, motion offenses and fast breaks.
“Everything I could get my hands on,” he said.
His thirst for knowledge led him to study basketball and forge a professional relationship with current University of Washington women’s head basketball coach Mike Neighbors. Neighbors spoke at a coaches’ conference in Yakima over the summer, and Medina found out he was an open book and willing to share all his knowledge.
“He’s a really good resource. He sends out a weekly newsletter,” Medina said. “You send him a thumb drive and he sends you seven gigs of stuff he has accumulated. Anything you can imagine – he has it.”
Medina’s staff includes junior varsity coach Elijah Gregg and C-squad coach Bill Gonzales. Gregg was a standout player for QHS and Gonzales is a veteran coach in several sports.
“I’m excited. Elijah knows his stuff, and I think Gonzales is going to be a great C-squad coach,” Medina said. “I am excited and happy with the staff I got.”
He also has a built-in team mom. His wife, Sarah, has jumped on board, as well as his two children, Mia and Dominic.
“She’s going to be the team mom,” he said. “She’s already planning team dinners.”
With the third time a charm for Medina, the head coach promised the panel that gave him this opportunity that he would be dedicated to his team. He’s a local kid with no plans on leaving his hometown.
“I was born in the Quincy hospital,” he said. “I came up through the Quincy schools. I bleed green. That is one of the messages I wanted to tell them.”
– Kurtis J. Wood, email@example.com