Gulf Coast womens team heads into Conference play as top ranked team in the nation

Published: Jan. 3, 2023 at 9:55 PM CST
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) -It’s a very big week for the area teams within the Panhandle Conference. League play begins Saturday. For the Gulf Coast womens team, that means the first game as the top ranked team in the land! Coach Rory Kuhn and his team finishing the non-conference slate with a perfect 15-0 record. And that’s garnered the Commodores the top spot in the NJCAA Division One national poll, which came out Monday. The Commodores now looking ahead to starting Panhandle play at home against Pensacola Saturday, the Pirates will come east with a 13-4 mark. This video here is from early November, Gulf Coast beating South Georgia Tech 76-61, that win looming large as South Georgia Tech is now the number two team in the poll at 17-1. This number one ranking impressive given the fact Gulf Coast wasn’t even in the Top-25 in the week one poll back in November, and it’s remarkable in other ways as well.

”Especially with what we’ve had to overcome.” says coach Kuhn “We’ve only had eight players doing this. You know fighting the injury bug and you know, ACLs, broken hands, kids getting sick and all that stuff. We’ve played a couple of games with seven players and we’ve still just been winning. And you know that’s just a testament to them. They push through everything. It’s somebody different every night, so every night it’s truly a team. We step up and we find a way to get it done. So I’m just proud of them.”

Again, all this a surprise to many in the juco sphere. And again, the coach attributes the success to his players.

“Yeah we were on nobody’s radar.” Kuhn adds “I think people kind of forgot about Gulf Coast, or wrote it off a little bit. But we’ve changed that rather quickly. So you know like I said all the credit goes to the kids. You know coming in here, buying in, doing it on such a short turnaround. I’ve only been here, you know it’s my second season, I’ve only been here like a year and three months at this point. You know so it’s just a little over a year and you know it’s been successful so far. So we’ve just got to keep it going.”

And they will try starting Saturday at two as they host the Pensacola Pirates. The mens game set for four. Northwest Florida and Chipola will meet in Marianna Saturday at 530 and 730.