RIO VISTA — Rio Vista Athletic Director Kasey Black likes the direction Eagle and Lady Eagle athletics are headed, and a big reason for that is the recent hiring of a new head coach.
Rio Vista ISD hired Nicole Black as the Lady Eagles’ new head basketball coach.
“She’s got a ton of experience but just interviewing her it was like she was speaking the same kind of language that I speak to the kids,” Kasey Black said. “The things she was saying to me are things I say to the kids. Throughout the whole interview, it just felt like this was the person that needed to lead our girls for the future.
“I feel great about where we’re at. ... Just bringing in Coach Black will make our girls side of the program more stable. It’s an environment our kids want to be in. Our numbers are higher than ever because of that. They want to play for these coaches. She fits what we’re trying to build here more than anything. She completes our puzzle, I feel like.”
Nicole Black said she was drawn to Rio Vista for a number of reasons.
“When I walked in for my interview, I was immediately impressed with the administration and with Kasey,” she said. “There was that immediate camaraderie; I felt like I could fit in well with the coaching staff and teaching staff. The facilities are really nice, especially for the size school we are. Something just felt right the second I walked in the door. There was not a doubt in my mind that that’s where I needed to be.”
After spending most of her life in West Texas, Black said the move to Johnson County will also bring her closer to family.
“My stepson moved from an Amarillo-area school down to Glen Rose last year and he will be a sophomore in high school,” she said. “He’s big into sports. His dad and I are both big into sports, obviously, as we both coach. It was not easy missing almost everything he did [last year]. We wanted to get down there to be close enough to him his last three years of high school. My dad lives in Graford and mom lives in Denton. So it will be nice to be closer to family.”
Black’s husband, Jeremy Black, will teach and coach at a middle school in Joshua ISD.
Entering what will be her 12th year as a head coach — three in volleyball and eight in basketball — Nicole Black brings a wealth of head coaching experience for a 32-year-old to Rio Vista.
She most recently served as head girls basketball coach at Groom High School, a 1A school in the panhandle, for four years. Prior to that, she coached at Bangs and St. Jo. At Groom, Black led her team to the playoffs twice in the past three seasons, including an appearance in the regional quarterfinals.
“Last year, we finished fourth and barely missed the playoffs,” she said. “In 1A, still only the top 3 teams go. But we had two pretty good runs. Overall, I’d say we were successful. ... I’m proud of the work we did and especially proud of what those girls did.”
Nicole Black’s experience isn’t limited to just coaching experience; she was also a standout player at Tulia High School and New Mexico State University. Black was an all-district and all-state performer in high school and then went on to have a solid career for NMSU, where her name is still in the record books. She is third all-time in blocked shots for a single season and second all-time for blocked shots in a single game (10).
Being a defensive-minded player, Black brings that same mindset as a coach.
“I’m definitely big on building relationships with the kids first,” Black said. “And I’m a big-time defensive person. I was a defensive-minded player. I’m very tall, 6-foot-4. I really enjoyed the defensive aspect of my game and so that’s carried over into my coaching philosophy as well. I like to run and gun and move the ball as fast as we can and wear people out.”
The Lady Eagles’ new leader said her future players can expect her to put in the work needed to become a winning program.
“As cliché as it sounds, I’m very excited to get down there and get to work,” she said. “I definitely want them to know that they can expect as much hard work from me as I expect from them. They won’t be doing this alone. I will be there matching their work and leading the way as to what they should be doing every day.”