Carley Kuhns has been introduced at Valdosta State dozens of times.
In the past, it came from a public address announcer broadcasting her spot in the Blazers' starting lineup. Monday's intro was a little different.
"Our new women's basketball coach, Carley Peterson Kuhns," said VSU athletic director Herb Reinhard, welcoming the Blazer Hall of Famer back to Valdosta.
"I had such a great experience as a student-athlete and then a graduate assistant here," Kuhns says. "To be able to come back and give that back to a group of ladies is 100% why I want to be here."
Kuhns spent the last six seasons as an assistant coach at Belmont University. While there, Kuhns was heavily involved in the Bruins recruiting process. It's that experience she hopes will help her bring talented players to Valdosta, and why she says task number one is hitting the recruiting trail.
"I'm ready to get back in the state recruiting, to recruit some really good student athletes hopefully from the state of Georgia and the state of Florida," she says.
Kuhns says she always had a gut feeling she and her family would return to Valdosta. Her husband, Matt, also played basketball at Valdosta State. She was a two-time All-Gulf South Conference selection, and led the Blazers to the Division II Sweet 16 during her senior season.
"It's a place that's so special," she says. "It's where my husband and I met. We both graduated from here. It feels like home."
Reinhard says bringing Kuhns back to the program in which she ranks 16th all-time in scoring has already stirred up local interest and alumni support, and the former Blazer star says she hopes to further that excitement.
"They're coming off a year where they struggled a little bit," Kuhns says. "We're going to develop a culture, a winning culture with this team to rejuvenize the community and get them back into women's basketball at Valdosta State."
Kuhns knows the best way to bring back support and interest in the program is to win games, and she has high hopes of bringing women's basketball titles to a city known for its championships.
"It's hard to believe that in 26 years in the Gulf South Conference, we've never won a conference tournament championship," Kuhns noted. "We've had a lot of great players and a lot of great teams, but we've never won a championship. That's something I want to do. I want to hang banners in that gym."
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