Prep Basketball: Laney new Jasper girls coach

Pugh moves into administrative role

By JOHNATHAN BENTLEY, Eagle Sports Editor
Posted 5/2/19

Blake Laney had success as a head basketball coach at both Oakman and Ider high schools. He’s hoping to continue that streak at Jasper.

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Prep Basketball: Laney new Jasper girls coach

Pugh moves into administrative role

Posted

Blake Laney had success as a head basketball coach at both Oakman and Ider high schools. He’s hoping to continue that streak at Jasper.

Laney was named the new Jasper High School girls basketball coach last week. Anna Pugh, who has coached the team the last three years, is moving into an athletic administration role at the school.

“The exciting thing is that we are getting two really good people into two very important positions, and we think it benefits the kids the most,” Jasper Athletic Director Jonathan Jordan said. “The girls are excited for coach Pugh’s opportunity and the future with coach Laney.”

The Jasper girls have improved each of the last two years, finishing 8-17 this season, including 3-5 in Class 5A, Area 11 play. Jasper played its best basketball at the end of the season, going 5-3 in its last eight games.

Laney has been at Jasper for seven years, including the last four years as the boys assistant coach under both Rufus McDuffie and Robert Epps. He’s also served as a junior high coach in tennis, football, track and softball.

“I’m excited to put my stamp on a program and build from what Anna started here,” Laney said.

“I feel like I got a head coaching job at a young age when I probably really wasn’t ready for it. I had to learn on the fly,” Laney said. “Over the last four years I’ve learned even more from coach McDuffie and coach Epps. They are two really good coaches. That’s helped me become a head coach again.”

In his one season at Oakman, the Lady Wildcats went 20-7, losing a sub-region game to Red Bay in the playoffs. During his three-year stint at Ider, Laney had teams that finished 20-7 and 26-4.

“Coach Laney has won on a high level everywhere he’s been a head coach,” Jordan said. “He’s won area championships and been ranked in the top 10 at both places.”

Pugh first came to the Jasper City School system in December of 2012. She is prepared for move into the administration side.

“I love coaching and I love those girls, but I see this as an opportunity to have an even bigger impact,” Pugh said. “I’m looking forward to it. I always thought I would go into athletic administration at some point. For the door to be open right here, right now at a place that I really care about is an exciting thing. I’ve worked with coach Laney the last five years in the system. I started a mission with the girls three years ago and I think coach Laney is the right person to take them to the next step.”