Family-oriented Pebley brings winning attitude to Horned Frog hoops

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    With a large audience of family, media and fans in attendance, TCU Athletics introduced a smiling Raegan Pebley as the seventh head coach in TCU women’s basketball history Tuesday afternoon.

    “We’re gonna cut down nets,” Pebley said. “That never gets old. That is so fun. We’re gonna do it.”

    TCU Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Chris Del Conte said TCU hired her specifically for her drive to win.

    “We set out to hire a winner,” Del Conte said. “She knows how to coach…when you’re around her for more than two minutes, she’s a winner.”

    Pebley, who spent two seasons with Fresno State before coming to TCU, led the Bulldogs to a combined 46-20 record and back-to-back Mountain West Conference Championships during her tenure.

    The 6-foot-5 Colorado alum also built a Utah State program from scratch when she was in her mid-30s.

    “You learn how important player leadership is and we had to grow that leadership,” Pebley said. “A brand new program, a lot of our players probably weren’t Division 1-ready players. They wanted to come and be a part of something really special and new.

    By the 2011-12 season, Pebley had made Utah State into a winner. The Aggies finished with a 21-10 record and their second-straight WNIT berth before Pebley took the job at FSU.

    “She started women’s basketball at Utah State. Daunting task,” Del Conte said. “Several years later, [they’re] in the tournament.”

    A Family Affair

    “I see my family here and that is so special to me,” Pebley said. “I’ve got a lot of family here in Texas…This is so special. It’s so rare in this profession that you can blend family and a great opportunity like this.”

    Among Pebley’s family in attendance were her parents, husband Keith, 10-year-old son Joseph and 7-year-old daughter Harper. Pebley’s parents are from McKinney, Texas, while one of her sisters lives in Austin.

    “There was a lot of them,” Pebley said about her family after the conference. “Not even all of them could make it in such short notice. They couldn’t get babysitters and stuff.”

    At the conference, Pebley made it clear just how much family means to her.

    “Who am I? I’m a wife to that guy right there, Keith,” Pebley said. “My husband who I love dearly. And I’m a coach’s wife as well.”

    Keith Pebley previously coached one of Gary Patterson’s sons, Cade, in high school football.

    Pebley also mentioned her father playing a huge influence in her profession as a coach.

    “I’m a daughter to my parents, right here. I gained my love of coaching from my father,” Pebley said. “I knew I wanted to do this job when I saw him finding ways, while he was supporting a family of so many kids, but he still found ways to coach and be a part of this game. I wanted to do that.”

    Along with being a wife and a daughter, Pebley mentioned her two children as a huge part of who she is.

    “I’m a mom and that’s one of my favorite roles,” Pebley said.

    Pebley then mentioned how her role as part of a family plays into her coaching style.

    “I’m also a coach and I have to list those other roles that I play because I try not to be one way as a mom and a wife and a different way as a coach,” Pebley said. “I can promise you these players, these student-athletes, these women who make up what TCU women’s basketball is will be a part of my family.”

    Junior guard Donielle Breaux said Pebley’s love for her family plays a big role in coaching a team.

    “We’re a close team,” Breaux said. “We’re basically all like sisters. Just to have another person on staff [to] come closer to us and connect with us, that’s gonna mean a lot.”

    Breaux also mentioned that Pebley being a woman might offer a better style of coaching for her personally.

    “Women have a lot of emotions going around so when one of us has an emotion, I feel like they’ll understand where we’re coming from,” Breaux said. “It might be better.”

    Next Up

    Looking forward, Pebley has the daunting task of replacing TCU legend Jeff Mittie. Kansas State’s newest head coach had a school-record 303 wins at TCU during his 15 years with the Frogs.

    “I love challenges. Pebley said. “I really, really do.”

    Mittie resigned from TCU before the team’s final game of the season, a 78-71 loss to Colorado in the first round of the WNIT. He led the Frogs to 12 postseason appearances in 14 seasons.

    Pebley also has the challenge of a tough Big 12 Conference, which she thinks is one of the best in the league.

    “This conference is no joke,” Pebley said. “We will attack it humbly but with so much effort and tenacity.”

    Despite the variety of obstacles in her way, Pebley said she’s ready.

    “If you’re afraid of challenges, don’t come into Texas and don’t come into the Big 12,” Pebley said. “I know there’s a lot of coaches in this league that are very great colleagues to one another but when it comes to recruiting and when you step on that floor, it’s go time.”