Powell, Bachtell end family affair as Leopards coaches

March 21, 2003|by DAN KAUFFMAN

When Jimmy Powell and Teresa Bachtell agreed to coach Smithsburg's girls basketball team eight years ago, the decision was made in large part for family reasons.

Powell and Bachtell - who are siblings - formed an eight-year plan to coincide with the high school years of Bachtell's daughter, Rachel, and Powell's daughter, Katy.

"We started it eight years ago when Rachel was a freshman, and we talked about doing it for eight years until Katy was finished," Powell said Thursday. "The eight years are up, and I enjoyed it."


Powell and Bachtell resigned their coaching positions following the Leopards' state semifinal appearance last Friday. The two guided Smithsburg to a 139-50 record in their tenure, including six appearances in the regional finals and trips to the last two state tournaments - losing in the finals last year.

"It was one of the best decisions of my life, coming back into coaching and doing those eight years with Jimmy," Bachtell said. "It's not often you get to do something with your brother like that when you're grown. The deal was if he put in four years with Rachel, I'd put in four years with Katy. ... It was a great experience, and I can't say one bad thing about it."

Bachtell will retain her duties as athletic director, while Powell will be an active participant in future Leopards' girls basketball teams in support of Bill Fowkes, who will become Smithsburg's head coach.

"I'm going to stay on and help him," Powell said. "I've committed to all the games, keeping stats, working practices and that kind of thing."

For the first three seasons at Smithsburg, Powell and Bachtell were co-coaches, both with an equal say at practices and during games. Over the past five seasons, Powell has taken the head coaching reigns, becoming the more vocal leader of the Leopards.

"We were co-coaching for three years, and after that, she said we need to be one voice," Powell said. "She did a lot of things that made it easier to be head coach ... and she was a tremendous help on the bench."

Powell said he was blessed with a stream of good athletes coming through the program, starting with Alexa Robertson - currently the Leopards' volleyball coach - and including Rachel Bachtell, Carey Brennan, Eariel Gholson, Michelle Feiser and Katy Powell.

"I just couldn't believe so many good athletes came through one school," Powell said. "No matter how good a coach you are or people say you are, you have to have horses, and every year we had kids who could play."

"They were winners, and they had that mentality," Bachtell said. "If this year's team didn't prove it, nobody's team did."

With Katy Powell heading to college after setting school and Monocacy Valley Athletic League career scoring records, Powell said he wanted to follow Katy's career and that in part led to his decision to step down.

"It's really hard to be the head coach and not be at each practice and every single event," Jimmy said. "It's hard to leave kids anytime. I'm not gonna leave the program, I'm gonna stay and help any way I can. I love the kids, I just don't want to be obligated to be there on a full-time basis."

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