by Andrew Stark
Independence High girls basketball coach Natalie Davis said she has stepped down from her position to spend more time with her family.
Davis, who led Independence to the Class 4A state playoffs this past season, will continue in her role as career development coordinator at the school, however, she also has been hired by Accelerate Basketball as the director of women’s basketball and will work at the program’s Carolina Courts location in Indian Trail.
Accelerate Basketball is an elite-level training academy that works with youths ages 6 to 19 while also working with some college and NBA players.
“I am going to miss some of the X’s and O’s of being a coach,” Davis said. “I will miss the connections with the kids and the challenges of working with a team and keeping them motivated. Mostly, I will miss the players and the chance to mentor them. I will miss my players terribly.”
This season the mother of two boys, ages 10 and 15, said missing her oldest son’s high school swim meets, which take place in the winter during basketball season, was when she knew she had to think about stepping away from full-time coaching for a while.
“It is a big commitment being a coach in the public schools,” she said. “We don’t do it for the money but for the love of the sport. A lot of weeks, we put in 60-plus hours at school and with our players.
“I love basketball and will always be around the game, and maybe I will coach again. But I don’t want to miss out anymore on my kids.”
Davis started with the Patriots in the 2008-09 season and led them to a 19-8 record. She was 35-51 in her four seasons at Independence.
Davis said there is a search under way for a new coach, and she will be able to assist her replacement with the transition. The Patriots, who had just eight players on the varsity team this season, will graduate just two seniors. Junior Laquisha Taylor, one of the Southwestern 4A conference’s top scorers at 19.2 points who also averaged more than six rebounds, will be the top returning player for the Patriots.
Davis said her players were very quiet when she told them she was leaving, but because they could see how missing out on her family was affecting her, she believes they support her.
“I think they understood it was a family decision,” Davis said. “I have made some great relationships with players and coaches during my time here. I will certainly miss that, but it is the right decision for me and my family.”