New basketball coach for the Bronco girls
by Rhett Sifford
San Juan High School girls basketball players will call a new individual “coach” this coming season. Kade Palmer was hired as the head coach in May when Laura Stearns resigned from the position after four years.
Palmer said it was a challenge getting out of the gate since he took the job in the final week of the school year. However, he was able to get organized quickly enough to get the girls into a tournament in Monroe, UT.
The team also scrimmaged Grand County in a home game June 25 and those teams will meet for an additional scrimmage in Moab on July 23.
Palmer has also instituted a shooting program to help encourage the girls to get in the gym and get a lot of shots over the remainder of the summer. The key to success on the basketball court is repetition to be sure.
Palmer is a lifelong Blanding resident and graduated from San Juan High in 2015, where he played football, basketball, and tennis. His coaching experience includes a one-year stint with the boys at Albert R Lyman Middle School.
For the past two years, he coached the girls C-team at San Juan. He was also a certified basketball official with the Utah High School Activities Association for four years.
He’s excited to get started as the head coach of the girls team at the high school level.
“I always told myself I wanted to coach,” Palmer said. “After helping with the girls for the past two seasons, I wouldn’t be upset to coach the girls forever. I really enjoy working with them.”
His coaching philosophy is simple: build a strong culture around girls basketball at San Juan High School by building good young women and good citizens.
“We’re going to build on a good attitude, on teamwork, discipline, enthusiasm, and enjoyment,” Palmer explained. “We want to get the girls excited to be there and give them good life skills.”
Palmer added that he wants the Bronco girls team to be a player-led organization where the seniors step up to lead the program and give good examples to the younger girls.
“I want to create an environment where we’re all one team, we’re all going to cheer each other on, pick each other up, nobody is better than anyone else, and we’re all working together to achieve the same goal,” detailed Palmer.
The new head coach is anticipating six seniors, five juniors, six sophomores, and ten freshmen will come out for the team in November.
Two of the incoming sophomores started or saw some playing time in 2021-22 and all the juniors, so Palmer believes he’ll have some solid experience returning.
In addition, four individuals will help Palmer with the coaching duties. Jason Shumway, who has coached the girls JV team for the past two seasons, will continue in that position.
Kesian Barton will take over as the C-team coach. And volunteering their time to help where needed this season are Riley Pugh and Sam Pemberton.
When asked what it takes to build a winning program, Palmer stated, “Success to me is doing your best every day no matter what. If you play to the best of your ability, that’s a win in my book.”
He said he believes that winning will be a byproduct of shifting the girls’ focus off the final outcome onto their effort and giving a full effort consistently.
“I’m excited to be the head coach,” Palmer said. “We’ve got a really good group of girls and I’m really excited to get it started.
“It’s going to be fun and I hope the community will come out and support us. The girls are fun to watch and they’re going to do great things this season.”