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Parasiliti: Bullett a safe bet for success with Hawks

October 28, 2012|By BOB PARASILITI | bobp@herald-mail.com
  • Bob Parasiliti
Joe Crocetta

Officially speaking, betting is a no-no in sports.

Wagering is that 400-pound gorilla in the room in athletics. Bets philosophically go against the purpose of competition, but they are always there, hanging in the corner.

Then again, it all depends on what’s on the line … which can be anything from money to bartering for services to that seasonal story of politicians putting up some of their state’s best goods to back a team in their constituency.

This instance, though, is different. That’s because if Chris Weller is a betting woman, she is positive she has the surest of sure things.

Call it intuition or just past experience, but the former Maryland women’s basketball coach knows a thoroughbred when she sees one. In fact, this choice has all the credentials to be just as impressive the second time around.

Weller, without any doubts, puts her money on Vicky Bullett as a lead-pipe cinch to become a very successful women’s basketball coach at Hagerstown Community College.

If Weller is right, it will give HCC’s women’s team the Daily Double of winning coaches. Bullett is taking the reins from Marlys Palmer, who retired last season after spending 32 years on the bench building the Hawks’ program.

This is Bullett’s first head coaching job on the collegiate level, so some of the finer points might not be as developed as some of the technical aspects, but coaching is the next phase in a life that has been lived and developed by basketball.

And even though the experience and the X’s and O’s all point to the possibility of Bullett becoming a runaway success by many lengths, there is one factor that has Weller convinced that HCC’s job is in a stable position.

“It’s just that Vicky is a human being,” Weller said Wednesday before her guest speaking appearance at the HCC Hawks Booster Club’s Green and White Picnic kickoff event. “She is an extraordinary human being.

“I think she will do an outstanding job coaching, just as she has done in anything she has attempted. She is hard working and she is devoted to her team.”

Weller knows a winner when she sees it … and Bullett is one on every level.

Weller has first-hand knowledge of Bullett’s capabilities and assets. That’s why the coach recruited the basketball player.

Bullett played for Weller from 1985-89 at Maryland after graduating from Martinsburg High School. It was the next phase of Bullett’s march to becoming one of the most dominating and decorated women’s basketball players in history.

Weller won 87 of her 499 games with Bullett, including three Atlantic Coast Conference titles and a trip to the NCAA Final Four. Bullett, in turn, averaged 16.9 points and 8.5 rebounds per game, set Maryland records, and became the ACC’s MVP and an All-American.

Bullett played for two Olympic teams — winning a gold medal at the 1988 Seoul Games — before playing professional overseas and in the WNBA. It all led to inductions to the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and Maryland’s Wall of Fame, places where Weller’s name also resides.

There is no denying the talent, but it doesn’t assure any success in running a team.

“You can’t predict that a great player will be a great coach,” Weller said.

But, there are clues.

Weller pointed to the qualities of why she recruited Bullett as the reasons why her protégé will be a good coach. It starts with breeding, which is the starting point of beliefs and character.

“I knew I wanted to recruit her as soon as I met her parents and saw her with her teammates,” Weller said. “She was a good athlete, but she was a better person and teammate.”

Weller watched as Bullett developed at Maryland and had every reason to be inflated by her successes and opportunities. Yet the person and the teammate were stronger willed than the player.

“What I saw in Vicky is what I thought would make her great,” Weller said. “She is a great team person. She is vocal and is all about her teammates. You can’t predict greatness, but Vicky has lived it. She could have become full of herself with all her accomplishments, but it was never about Vicky. It was about her team doing its best.”

Now, Weller sees Bullett on the other side of it.

Bullett is about to convey her knowledge back to a new generation of players and using the breeding, person and teammate she was to continue the greater good in women’s basketball.

“She will (coach) with great compassion,” Weller said. “She will always be there for the team and the players to help them become the best they can.

“All Vicky has to do to be a success is be herself.”

Out of all Bullett’s talents, the ability to remain grounded may be the biggest one all.

It’s why Weller likes the odds that Vicky Bullett will have the Hawks’ women’s basketball team celebrating in the winner’s circle in time.

And HCC is more than happy to take that bet.

Bob Parasiliti is a staff writer for The Herald-Mail. He can be reached at 301-791-7358 or by email at bobp@herald-mail.com.

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