Since his arrival in 2015, head women’s basketball coach David Midlick has made it an intention to turn his athletes’ four years at APSU into 40 elsewhere.
He has made this intention a reality, as the coach now boasts four former players who have continued their athletic career through different aspects of women’s basketball programs.
Keisha Gregory, who played for APSU from 2015-19, is now the director of basketball operations at Indiana State University. Former Govs guard and graduate assistant Falon Baker accepted a coaching position with Columbia in September. Replacing Baker as an assistant at APSU is four-year contributor Nieja Crawford.
The most recent addition to this list is Tiasha Gray. Following professional stints in Israel, Finland and Sweden, the Clarksville-native now joins the coaching staff at Marquette as a Creative Program Design Assistant. Gray’s role responsibilities include the design and distribution of recruiting materials, social media content creation and the day-to-day behind the scenes operations within the program, according to the Marquette website.
Before playing overseas, Gray was a key contributor to a program on the rise. The senior guard averaged 20.6 points, 4.3 rebounds and 5.4 assists during the 2015-16 season. Gray would eventually earn the Ohio Valley Conference’s Defensive Player of the Year award as a junior and was named to two consecutive All-OVC teams.
Midlick is impressed by the impact his former players have held on the world of collegiate women’s basketball, and knows that the process for advancement begins before they step foot onto campus.
“When we are recruiting these young ladies to Austin Peay, we’re not just recruiting them but their families,” he said. “We’re telling them, and really mean it, that the next four years goes by so quickly, and we’re going to try and prepare them for the next 40 years after that; that they have a profession and not just a job; leave with a degree that really means something to them, and go on to bigger and better things. That’s when you’re most proud, is when they go on and do something really successful.”
The coach is confident that the trend will continue for years to come and sees potential in one of his current athletes to impact the game at the coaching level moving forward.
“I think Tahanee [Bennell] has kind of gravitated towards that. She’s been involved with some coaching in the past. She has a personality that future players – as she’s a coach – will gravitate towards. Our team…they respect her. I can see her being able to do that full-time in the future.
“I would much rather our team, during practices and games, be led by the players rather than the coaches. When it means something to them, they will listen to each other and respond to each other in the right way. She’s definitely one of the leaders that does that. Her words and her actions have meaning to our players.”
Midlick hopes that the advice implemented in practices sticks with Gregory, Gray, Crawford and Baker, and that their administrative and coaching careers are far from over.
“When you go into a job interview, when you get a job and you go into it, don’t be afraid to lean on people,” he said. “Your mentors, people that you’ve trusted throughout your life, and also try to increase that circle of people you have to ask questions to. We don’t know everything.
“Do the best job you can do. I preach to our team, go 1-0, and that means to have the best possible day that you can. I hope they’ve taken some of that onto their jobs.”