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A Season to Remember: Pflugerville Girls Rally Around Their Coach
Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 09:47 PM CDT
This has been a season Pflugerville's Nancy Walling will not soon forget.
Walling, the Lady Panthers head basketball coach, has been at PHS for 24. And while the Lady Panthers might not be great at math (they weren't sure of their current record or how long Coach Walling had been at Pflugerville), when it comes to chemistry, they're at the head of the class.
"Very rarely do I say that I would spend spare time with them, but I wouldn't mind spending some of my spare time with this group," said Coach Walling. "They're special girls."
Before this season even started, the bond between a team and its coach proved to be much more than any science book could explain.
"We're all like a big family to her, so she has us and she knows it," said Lady Panthers forward Jonelle Smith.
Walling's father Dennis lost his battle with Alzheimer's on August 19th. A basketball lifer, the former player and college coach was listed as a forward but had the tools of a guard - passing his knowledge and love for the game on to his children.
"We went to all of his games and we were gym rats," recalled Walling. "I know he's up there watching and he's proud of us."
As their coach suffered through her toughest moment, the Lady Panthers were in perfect rebounding position.
"We felt it for her," said Smith. "We texted her, called her, gave her cards and showed her that we were here for her."
"It was a special time," admitted Walling. "Losing him was hard but I've got a family here and a lot of support."
Selflessness and compassion are lessons the Lady Panthers learned from Walling. Those traits, along with her commitment to excellence and community service, earned Coach Walling Pflugerville High School's Humanitarian of the Year award.
"For my peers here at Pflugerville High School to nominate and vote me as Humaniatrian of the Year, that's probably one of the most special awards I've gotten to be honest," said Walling.
Perhaps that's because in 24 years at Pflugerville, Walling has never won a state title. With two more wins, that will change.
"I feel like we owe it to her," said Lady Panthers Alyssa Echols. Because of all she's done for us."
This has been a season Nancy Walling will not soon forget. But the final chapter of the story has yet to be written.