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New head coach has tough road ahead

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The Grand Rapids Community College women’s basketball team will have a new coach and a completely revamped roster this upcoming season with only two returning players.

Athletic Director Charlie Wells scrambled to fill the void left by former head coach Eric Taylor. The hiring process took longer than expected, but Wells believes they found the right candidate in Tracy Little.

“We had several candidates apply, and we felt Tracy’s commitment to academics and coaching experience was a great fit for the transition of a rebuilding program,” Wells said. “It took longer than expected, but we are happy with our decision.”

Since the process was time consuming and the direction of the program was uncertain, many of the players from last season decided not to return to the team. Only two players, Katie and Meghan Mitchell, who are twin sisters are returning to the Raiders team. Katie averaged 4.5 points per game and 2.5 assists last season for the Raiders. Meghan suffered a knee injury that sidelined her the entire season.

Growing up, Little knew she wanted to be either a special education teacher or a Harlem Globetrotter.  She has yet to achieve the fame of being a Globetrotter, but did find a position assisting with special education students in Kentwood middle school. Little will remain with the school while also coaching at GRCC.

Little has experience at the community college level. She played at Kalamazoo Valley Community College, where she was a two-year letter winner and received the Dale B. Lake Award for the top female athlete of the year.

Little has coached both boys and girls basketball at several different high schools for 15 years. She last coached at Kentwood before accepting the position at GRCC.

“ I never envisioned coaching at the college level, but I felt this was a great opportunity,” Little said.

Little is holding the team to high academic standards. She would like to see the team earn all-academic honors and have a combined GPA over a 3.0.

“Education is a priority, basketball will come and go,“ Little said. “I don’t want these girls to just get a degree, I want them to pursue a dream”.