It didn’t take long for Vicky Bullett to grasp Hagerstown Community College’s motto.
“Stay close. Go far,” are words the school has built its reputation around. They are also the words Bullett is living by.
Bullett, who went from Martinsburg High School star to one of the pioneers in women’s pro basketball in the United States, has returned to the area where it all started to begin a new chapter in her life — as an assistant coach at HCC.
“I’m a homebody,” Bullett said after being introduced as the newest member of Marlys Palmer’s staff. “I left home when I was 17 and came back when I was 39. I was tired living out of suitcases. Close the door and lock it ... I’m not going anywhere.”
Bullett brings a mind-boggling amount of credentials and experience to the HCC program.
“I hardly know what to say,” Palmer, who will be entering her 32nd year as HCC’s head coach. “It is unbelievable with an individual with Vicky’s resume helping with our program. I think she will mean so much to the campus and this area. She is interested in giving back.”
No matter where Bullett has gone or traveled, she has always had Martinsburg in her heart. She started as a Martinsburg High standout who starred with the Terrapins and won two Olympic medals. She started her pro career in Italy before returning to play for the Charlotte Sting and the Washington Mystics until 2002. She spent another stint in Europe before retiring in 2007 to become an eighth-grade teacher at South Middle School in her hometown.
Bullett decided it was time to expand her coaching after working with AAU players and knocked on HCC’s door.
“I’m excited,” said Bullett, 43. “This is an opportunity you can’t pass up. I wanted to coach and started looking at colleges in the area. HCC was the first one I thought of and I came here.”
Palmer said Bullett contacted the school about coaching. HCC had an opening and the rest is history.
“She approached us,” Palmer said. “She wants to work with players of this age group. She just wants to give back to the game. This is a win-win for us.”
Bullett has spent time as an assistant coach with the Mystics and was named the team’s manager of basketball operations. She realized that isn’t where she really wanted to be.
“I love my family and friends. I want to be stable,” Bullett said. “I tried to do it in D.C., but I was back living out of a suitcase. I want to stay as close to home as possible.”
Bullett’s hiring automatically increases the long, successful image of HCC’s women’s basketball program. Bullett, who played in the WNBA for six seasons, doesn’t go for all the dramatics about joining HCC.
“I just try to keep it in perspective,” Bullett said. “In AAU, if you expose kids to things early, they will grasp it. Give it to them early and they will learn to do it earlier. I don’t think I will have problems with the Xs and Os. If you get coachable kids, they will understand.”