JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Yolett McPhee-McCuin is a woman of many titles. She is a daughter, mother, wife, Hall of Famer and philanthropist, and last year she added one more title – Head Coach.
Taking over the reins of the Jacksonville University women’s basketball program in April, her new tag carried twice the significance as she was named head coach of the Bahamian women’s national team a few months prior.
“I am humbled and honored to have an opportunity to give back and represent my country on this international Scene,” said McCuin. “I played on the Junior National Team and that experience is one I will never forget. This is a dream come true for me. We will be young, but talented and I look forward to working with the best talent that we have to offer. This experience will allow me to work among good coaches around the world, sharpen my craft, and build a program that my fellow Bahamians will be proud of.”
Basketball runs in Coach McCuin’s blood. The daughter of legendary Bahamian coach Gladstone “Moon” McPhee and educator Daisy McPhee, she has continued her storied basketball career by inspiring young women – especially those from her home country of the Bahamas – to chase their dreams.
She was the first female Bahamian to sign a Letter of Intent for women’s basketball at a Division I school, and is the first to coach at a Division I program. As a player, she led the 18U Junior National Team to a silver medal at the FIBA National Games and now as a coach has her eyes set on the 2016 Olympics.
Preparation for Brazil begins now and the dates for the team’s upcoming trials are May 16-19, 2014. In a few months, Coach McCuin prepares to go back to the Bahamas to find the 12 best players to represent the country at the games.
“A lot of our players are overseas and some are playing collegiate basketball. Though we are currently apart, my staff has been reaching out to them throughout the year.”
While spots for the team are up for grabs, Coach McCuin knows she can count on Bahamian basketball icon Waltiea Roll. Rolle, 22, was chosen by the Minnesota Lynx as the 36th overall pick in the 2013 Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) draft. It is likely she will be joined by a few other overseas players as well as a few college standouts.
The CBC Championship is a FIBA-sponsored basketball tournament where national teams from the Caribbean participate. This year, the top three teams will earn berths to Centrobasket Championship where they will compete for spots in the FIBA Americas Championship. Advancement from those games will allow teams to qualify for the FIBA World Championship or Olympics.
The senior women’s championship will begin on July 8th with the Bahamas suiting up against the Virgin Islands, Dominica and Barbados in the preliminary rounds. Currently leading the Caribbean as the winningest nation with nine medals, the Bahamas boasts six gold, one silver and two bronze medals.
If Coach McCuin’s expectations are anything like those she places on the Dolphins, the Bahamas should get ready for some up-tempo, defense-oriented, blue-collar basketball.