Recently hired Lady Tiger basketball head coach Brad Puckett will enter his first year as a varsity head basketball coach in 2014, but he is no stranger to the success on the court, or the area.
Puckett, a Commerce native and CHS graduate, has spent the last 15 years at Jefferson where he has held a wide range of coaching positions. He started his tenure as a middle school head coach in 2000, before taking over the junior varsity head coaching at JHS in 2002. In his five years as a junior varsity coach, he led the JV Lady Dragons to a 44-16 record and one undefeated season.
As the assistant coach of the varsity Lady Dragons, Puckett helped propel the Lady Dragons to two state championship games – one of which resulted in a Jefferson state title. Puckett also helped lead the Dragons to six Elite Eight appearances, three Final Four appearances, numerous 20-win seasons and most recently the 2014 Region 8-AA championship – Jefferson’s first region title since 1986.
“I’ve been a part of some amazing things (at Jefferson),” said Puckett.
While Puckett has enjoyed immense success as an assistant coach, he is quick to point out that he worked with a number of distinguished head coaches. Puckett hopes the experience and techniques learned from his peers will position him for a similarly accomplished head coaching tenure.
“I’ve been around a lot of great coaches (at Jefferson),” said Puckett, citing Boling DuBose, Jason Gibson, Brandy Corbett and Kevin Jacobs. “I’ve been around some really, really good folks and have learned a lot.”
Puckett was also the head softball coach at Jefferson High School for the 2007-2011 seasons, in which time he led the Lady Dragons to a region title and a third-place finish in the state tournament.
But Puckett strived for a basketball position, noting, “I love softball, but basketball has always been my true passion.”
When Puckett learned of former Lady Tiger coach Rex Gregg’s retirement, he immediately pursued the opening.
“I wanted to lead my own team,” said Puckett. “When this opportunity opened up, I jumped in there.”
Puckett noted that he’d considered the prospect of coaching the Lady Tigers in the past when the position was open, but the Commerce City School System never had an open social studies teaching position.
“What I do in the classroom is very important to me,” said Puckett. “I wasn’t willing to go and teach something that was not my passion.”
He has taught social studies for the past nine years at Jefferson, and will continue that path at Commerce.
Puckett’s vision for the Lady Tigers is ambitious, but he believes coaching at a rival school has given him a clear assessment of his new team.
“I’ve watched Commerce play over the years, and I’ve always felt that there was a lot of potential there,” he said. “I have some ideas that are my own – some new things that I hope to bring in that will benefit the program. I’m excited about that. From what I saw last year, I saw a lot of kids really working hard. I’m looking forward to getting out there and trying to develop that talent even further.”
Puckett hopes to begin developing his players right away as he plans on meeting with CHS administrators to discuss potential summer activities.
He hopes to use summer kids’ camps to build interest in the program for young students. Puckett also plans on developing high school players through summer workouts, practices and games.
“Players are made in the offseason,” he added. “I’m certainly willing to put in as much time as I can to help these ladies develop even further. This is truly a blessing of an opportunity and I do believe the future is very bright for the Commerce Lady Tigers.”
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