By Carson Caulfield, Staff Writer
The Samford Women’s Basketball program announced the hiring of Carley Kuhns as its new head coach on Wednesday, April 10. Kuhns will be replacing long-time head coach Mike Morris, who led the Bulldogs for 17 seasons and recently retired from coaching.
Kuhns has already proven herself as an excellent head coach during her time with the Valdosta State Blazers, a Division II program in Georgia.
After two years as a graduate assistant with Valdosta State, Kuhns began her coaching career as an assistant coach with Belmont State. During her six years with Belmont, she helped lead her girls to a Ohio Valley Conference Championship in 2015-16. She also was on staff for the program’s second NCAA Tournament appearance in its history.
Kuhns quickly got to work in Valdosta after her hiring in 2016. After her first season, she was named the Gulf South Conference coach of the year. All three of her seasons with the Blazers ended with at least 20 wins, combining for a total record of 66-29, or a .695 winning percentage. Kuhns lead the Blazers to two tournament appearances, including a Sweet 16 appearance in 2018. She also won the Gulf South Conference title in 2017.
Bulldogs Athletic Director Martin Newton led a long and vigorous search to find a worthy replacement for Mike Morris, and Kuhns stood out among the rest.
“Mike Morris has given us the blueprint for what we want in a new head coach,” said Newton in a press conference on Thursday. “Carley Kuhns fits that blueprint to a tee.”
In the press conference of Thursday, Kuhns stated the importance of building coach and player relationships, and their role in success.
“Relationships are something that are so important to me,” Kuhns said. “And I think it’s why the teams that I have coached have had success, because we care about people. And when you earn someone’s trust, they will run through walls for you.”
The Bulldogs will be coming off of a not so successful 2018-2019 season. They finished with a 10-20 overall record and a 5-9 SoCon record. It will be interesting to see how strong of a rebound season Kuhns can produce in her first year as a Bulldog.
“We’re not going to promise that we win every game that we play, but we’re going to play really hard, and we’re going to get after it, and we’re going to be fun to watch.”
The Bulldogs will be back in action in November. Until then, Kuhns and her new team will be hard at work, preparing to bring home a SoCon championship trophy.