ALTUS — Grandfield boys basketball coach Susan Hamand is used to the raised eyebrows. When she's called other schools for scouting reports or to trade information, more than once she's been asked, "Don't you mean you want to talk to the girls coach?”
But in her three years of coaching the Bearcats, she's steadily won over any critics. Her first year, they won seven games, after winning just one the season before. Last season, Grandfield won 19 times. Saturday night in Altus, Grandfield capped Hamand's boys coaching career when Kelley Robinson sprung free — on a play Hamand drew out on a dry-erase board during a timeout — to give the Bearcats a 62-60 win over Gracemont and a place in the Class B state tournament. "Last year, nobody really took us seriously, because we had a girl coach,” Robinson said. "She's really proven herself, though.” Hamand isn't the first woman to coach a boys team. Peggie Likowski coached Schulter for several years. Lana Kite coached Wapunucka in 1989-90, and Amanda Sanders Andrews once coached Davidson. Hamand is believed to be the first female coach to take a boys team to the state basketball tournament. "It's not really any different from coaching girls,” Hamand said. "You coach the game. That's the way I've gone about it. "I like a lot of ball movement, a lot of teamwork and working together, and that stays the same whether I'm coaching boys or girls. That philosophy fell right in with this group of kids.” Hamand's son, Blake, a senior forward, said there was plenty of skepticism when his mom took over as boys coach. "People weren't sure about a woman coaching boys basketball,” Blake Hamand said. "They didn't know if she'd be able to discipline the players.
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Susan Hamand isn't the first woman to coach a boys team, but she is believed to be the first female coach to take a boys team to the state basketball tournament. "It's not really any different from coaching girls,” Hamand said. "You coach the game. That's the way I've gone about it.” PHOTO PROVIDED