Salazar selected to succeed Sharp as Lady Busters coach
By ADAM HOLT
Garden City Community College's women's basketball program will keep some continuity moving forward, as assistant Nick Salazar has been selected to be the next head coach.
The college announced the hiring in a press release Tuesday, with an introductory press conference to be held 9 a.m. Friday morning at the Perryman Athletic Complex.
Salazar said the position is a good opportunity for him and his family.
"Got a bit of an emotional attachment, not only to the program, but the city as a whole," Salazar said. "We came here two years ago and didn't know what to expect. But with everything that Garden City has to offer, we just really embraced the city, and have had so much support that it's really exciting to be given an opportunity to stay for a little bit longer. So we're really happy with the decision that was made."
Salazar served as an assistant the last two years under former head coach Alaura Sharp, who is leaving to take an assistant job at NCAA Division I University of Southern Mississippi at the end of the month. Prior to that, he was head coach at Highland High School in Albuquerque, N.M., helping guide the team to the 5A state tournament during his tenure.
At GCCC, Salazar worked primarily with the Busters' post players, and was responsible for recruiting Lady Broncbuster All-American Tamara Jones.
"Nick, he has a background that we can pull from — he's been a head coach," GCCC athletic director Ryan Ruda said. "On the other hand, he's also familiar enough with Garden City, and what we have returning. Really, with the model of success that Alaura has built, and that we want to continue."
Salazar said his goal was always to become a head coach once again, and he inherits a good situation at Garden City.
"Most of the time when you take over a program, you take them over when they're bad," he said. "It's actually a new challenge, and an exciting challenge for me to take over a program that's been successful, and try to keep it there."
Fellow assistant Whitney Corley also applied for the position, and Ruda said the two stood out among the dozens of outside applicants they had.
"For Nick and Whitney to be able to stand out and be selected, I think says a lot about their qualifications, compared against the others who had applied for the head coaching position, as well," Ruda said. "They measured up equally, if not better to many of the resumes and people we had who applied as well. That speaks volumes of our assistant coaches."
Corley, who has been with the program since the 2008-09 season, will remain in her current capacity. Corley works primarily with the Buster guards.
"We're real excited about that," Salazar said. "Very pivotal because of a lot of the inroads she's made in the in-state recrutiing. She does such a good job organizing camps and keeping the office running smoothly. I just thought it was absolutely essential that we keep her on, and maybe even lean on her more than Alaura did. She's excited to stay on, and I'm more than excited to have her."
The Busters have gone 50-16 in the past two seasons, and keeping the two assistants from those campaigns will help with recruiting — Salazar said all the prior commitments signed before Sharp's resignation are staying with the Busters.
Salazar said a third assistant will be added sometime before the fall to essentially replace his role.
Salazar and his wife, Ashley, and two children, a daughter Nicole, 3, and an infant son, Samuel, live in Garden City.