Women’s coach chases 1 mile­stone, eye on 2nd

Orlando Sentinel (Sunday) - - SPORTS SUNDAY - By Roy Parry Or­lando Sen­tinel

When Glenn Wilkes Jr. took the women's bas­ket­ball coach­ing job at Rollins Col­lege in 1986, one of his goals was sim­ply to make it through the sea­son.

Af­ter 33 years at the pri­vate school in Win­ter Park, he doesn't have to worry about job se­cu­rity.

“I re­mem­ber com­ing in here and be­ing scared to death, and won­der­ing what I was go­ing to do af­ter they fired me. That's what I re­mem­ber,” he said with a laugh. “And I re­mem­ber think­ing if I could just get through the year, I might be able to find an­other job and stay on my feet.”

Be­ing among the all­time win­ningest coaches in NCAA Divi­sion II his­tory af­fords you a lit­tle hu­mor­ous re­flec­tion.

Wilkes did more than stay on his feet. His first team went 21-6 and he was named the Sun­shine State Con­fer­ence Coach of the Year.

Now, in his 33rd sea­son at Rollins, Wilkes is clos­ing in on an­other mile­stone: win No. 700.

Once he gets there, Wilkes will be­come just the fourth head coach in Divi­sion II and 28th in NCAA women's bas­ket­ball his­tory to eclipse vic­to­ries.

The mile­stone eluded him Satur­day as the Tars fell 62-50 to 13th-ranked Univer­sity of the Sciences in the cham­pi­onship game of the Rollins Thanks­giv­ing Tour­na­ment. His next chance comes Wed­nes­day when Rollins plays host to Em­bry-Rid­dle in a 5:30 p.m. game at War­den Arena.

Satur­day's loss dropped the Tars to 2-3 over­all, but Wilkes is main­tain­ing per­spec­tive. He doesn't want to add any pres­sure to his team, and with 23 reg­u­larsea­son games left he knows the 700th win will come. Wilkes has his sights set on a dif­fer­ent num­ber.

“I ought to worry Wilkes Jr. 700 more about 800 [wins] than 700 be­cause if I don't get 700 this year I might not have a job,” he said with a smile. “Re­ally, it's kind of that mind­set.

“It's go­ing to come now. We're this close. I truly am more con­cerned about 800. Hope­fully I can get to 800. I'm not wor­ried about it; I'm re­ally not.”

Wilkes likely would have reached the 700-win mark last sea­son if not for a num­ber of in­juries. The Tars limped to a 12-14 fin­ish — just Wilkes' sec­ond los­ing sea­son.

So he'll take an­other run at it with a team that lacks ex­pe­ri­ence but Wilkes says will make strides as the sea­son pro­gresses.

Rollins showed some of that in­ex­pe­ri­ence at times against Univer­sity of the Sciences but also showed its grit against a team that reached the East Re­gion fi­nals last sea­son.

“I feel much bet­ter af­ter this game than I did be­fore. I was con­cerned about how com­pet­i­tive we could be against a re­ally ex­pe­ri­enced team. I feel a lot bet­ter af­ter the game than I did be­fore the game, even though we lost. I think we're go­ing to be pretty good.

“De­fense will keep us in ev­ery game.”

It did Satur­day. Rollins held Univer­sity of the Sciences to just six field goals in the sec­ond half but couldn't find enough of­fense to come back from an 16-point third-quar­ter deficit.

Colo­nial High alum Jay­lyn Har­ri­son scored seven straight points at one point as the Tars got within 51-44 with 6:43 left in the game. But the of­fense dried up and the Devils (4-0) slowly pulled away.

Har­ri­son and Denise Daniels, also a Colo­nial alum, each scored 13 points to lead Rollins.

San­ford Semi­nole High alum Carly McLen­don fin­ished with nine points, a game-high 11 re­bounds and three blocked shots.

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