Vincent breaks new ground as NMB boys hoops coach

A referee approached the North Myrtle Beach High boys basketball bench before a recent game with a confused look on his face.

“Where’s your coach?” he asked, surveying the sidelines.

“That’s me,” replied first-year Chiefs head coach Darcie Vincent, the first female to lead a major boys varsity sport in Horry County.

“I get that a lot, especially in the South,” laughed Vincent, a West Virginia native and former standout at Duquesne University. “I’m like, ‘Is this 1960?’ I’m not offended. I know they’re just not used to seeing a woman coach a boys team, but it’s basketball. It’s the same game for boys and girls. If you can coach, you can coach.”

And Vincent can, as evident by her 24-year coaching career. Her resume includes the 2004 NCAA Division II title and a 35-1 season at California Pennsylvania, and a six-year tenure at Appalachian State, where she won two Southern Conference titles.

After leaving App State in 2014 with a 117-75 overall record, Vincent was looking for a change of pace. After a brief stint as an assistant for the Coastal Carolina women’s team, she found it at North Myrtle Beach, where she teaches marketing and served as a JV assistant last year before getting the call-up.

When former Chiefs boys coach Alvin Green was relieved after two losing seasons, NMB athletics director Joe Quigley put the full-court press on Vincent to make the cross-over move. Her competitive nature got the best of her.

“Coach Quigley kept asking, and he knows I love a challenge,” Vincent said. “It helped that the kids were familiar with me from JV and I think they already trusted me. But I told them, ‘I’m nobody’s mother.’ We’re going to work hard and we’re going to get better.”

Vincent’s appointment caught many by surprise, but sophomore guard Javi Marlowe says the players have bought in. Although off to a 4-8 start to a rebuilding season, the Chiefs are improving. They turned a 23-point loss to Carolina Forest in their season opener into a two-point win four weeks later.

“At first there was some chaos, a lot of drama, but now we don’t even think of her as a female coach. She’s just our coach,” said Marlowe. “She keeps us in check and pushes us to get better. We’re not worried about wins and losses as much as just keep improving, and we are.”

Vincent, a self-professed taskmaster who has her team focusing on the fundamentals, says she didn’t take the job to prove a point or make a statement. However, she does feel a sense of responsibility to represent her gender well and open up more opportunities for females.

“The best reaction was from my female students,” Vincent said. “When I got the job they were like, ‘Wow, I didn’t know a woman could coach a boys team.’ I want them to know they can do anything and be successful.”

Which is the only reason Vincent says she feels any pressure to excel. “I don’t want to be the first and last one to do it.”

Photo by Janet Morgan/myhorrynews

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