CHARLOTTESVILLE — It was only their first meeting, but Shari Doud is already impressed.
On Tuesday night in the Eastern Hancock cafeteria, the new Royals girls basketball coach — pending school board approval later this month — met her team and their families for the first time, and she said she was pleased with what she saw.
“Those girls are attentive,” said Doud, who introduced herself to the Eastern Hancock community one lunch table at a time.
“You can already tell they’re good listeners by the way they locked eyes with me during our little meet-and-greet.”
Doud also said she was excited about Tuesday’s turnout. About 40 non-playing members of the Royals’ family showed up for the coach’s introductory meeting, which Doud said was an excellent symbol of the tight-knit and caring community she signed on to join.
There were about 15 players in attendance, including incoming Royals junior Peyton West.
She, like Doud, said she came away impressed with the introductory meeting.
West said she could not wait to get to work for the former Greenfield-Central and Pendleton Heights coach with 199 wins and three sectional championships on her résumé.
“I love that she said we’re all coming in with a clean slate,” West said.
“She doesn’t know any of us, so that gives us a chance to come in and work our butts off and prove to her that we want to be here. … I’m looking forward to coming to practice and saying ‘I’m not laying down or relaxing because I was on varsity last year.’ I think it’s good for us that we’ll all have something to fight for.”
Doud will replace Jeremy Powers, who resigned earlier this summer and led the Royals to a 59-29 record in four seasons. Doud said she considers herself a defense-first coach, not unlike Powers.
The coaches’ similar focus, West said, should help make the transition go smoothly.
West, an all-county softball player, also was relieved to hear that Doud not only tolerates multi-sport athletes, she encourages them.
“I absolutely want them to play at least one sport other than my own,” Doud said.
“Just to stay competitive around the calendar year. I think sometimes you can caught up into playing too much one-on-nobody working on a single sport. I mean that as no disrespect to kids who specialize, but I do think there is an advantage to those kids who play multiple sports. I think it benefits my basketball program.”
Meeting notes: Doud said she is closer to filling out the rest of her staff, however, no official decisions have been made. Only her father, Ed Clark, definitely will be on the bench. Rex Putt, Cory Rainbolt and Jeremy Powers’ father Gary Powers were Royals’ assistants last year. … The Royals’ first open gym is today. … Doud told the Royals that despite their zone background, they will be playing mostly man-to-man defense under her guidance.