Samuel D. Logan
The Valdosta Daily Times
The Lady Blazer basketball team gathered together on Saturday night to celebrate their annual Lady Blazer family banquet. The 14th year theevent has been held, it's a tradition brought to the Valdosta State basketball program by current Lady Blazer Head Coach Kiley Hill.
“It’s one of the things I started my first season in 2000. It brings the past players, current players and the future together as one family,” said Lady Blazer Head Coach Kiley Hill.
The event was held in the University Center Magnolia room on Valdosta State’s campus and was open to the public to attend for a small fee.
The purpose of the event each year is to bring together the families of the players and to celebrate the start of a new season.
“Sometimes this is the first time the families have met. It’s a great opportunity to socialize. They get to know each other and know who to sit with when they (the families) come to the games,” said Associate Head Coach Jennifer Grubbs.
“It’s a celebration for the next step of our journey. It’s all about bringing family together and celebrating tradition year after year,” added Coach Hill.
Former players and Blazer alumni have become more a part of the banquet each year and are essential to achieving the family atmosphere that Coach Hill wants.
“All former players, their families, boosters and the community can come out to the banquet each year. This is the 39th year of the program so it’s historical and has been here a while, and we’re just wanting to celebrate those who came before us, and those who are with us now,” said Hill.
The banquet has always been held before the season. Coach Hill has been the reason for this which goes against the norm, as most teams have their banquets at the season's close.
“I’ve never been the guy to celebrate at the end of the season because there are so many situations that can evolve from that. There is no better way to bring in a season than bringing everyone together,” said Hill.
The Lady Blazers begin their regular season on Monday, Nov. 11 at 6 p.m. in the Complex against Trinity Bible College.