Although Tory Douglass was a successful multi-sport athlete in school as a kid growing up in Love County, a career in coaching wasn’t in his plans. But that hasn’t stopped him from throwing himself into it 100 percent, and on Tuesday night, December 1, he celebrated his first win as a head coach, leading the Marietta Lady Indians to a 39-28 victory over the S&S Lady Rams.
Douglass, son of the late Donald Douglass and the late Pricilla Douglass, attended school at Marietta, graduating in 2004 and heading to Northeastern State University in Tahlequah on a football scholarship.
After an injury cut short his college football career, Douglass came home to Love County where he worked as a mechanic for a time, then moved to a job at East Jordan Ironworks.
“I got hurt working at East Jordan, and during the time I was off work, I got into coaching in the YMCA league with my son Keshawn,” said Douglass. “I kept doing it, but really didn’t think about it as a job for a while.”
Douglass’s children have all played YMCA league ball and on AAU traveling teams that Douglass coached since they were small. The kids play year-round and Douglass has always been right there with them.
“We’ve been on the go since they were little,” he said, “probably in kindergarten.”
Coaching teams for Keshawn, Toriauna, Ashlyn, and Luciana (who are in 12th, 11th, 9th, and 8th grades, respectively) for a while finally helped Douglass to see where he needed to focus his efforts, career-wise.
“When Jason Midkiff was a Greenville, he gave me my first shot,” Douglass explained. “I coached basketball, even had a track program there for a while.”
Even though he was technically employed at Greenville, Douglass still volunteered to help with football and track at Marietta.
During the 2019-20 year, Douglass came to Marietta where he began working as a paraprofessional and coach. Last year, he was the assistant to Josh Drinning in high school girls’ basketball, along with coaching junior high girls’ teams and helping with junior high and high school football. Douglass’s seventh grade girls’ basketball team had a perfect season.
“Working with Coach Drinning and those girls was a great learning experience for me,” Douglass remarked, “and when he resigned over the summer, he asked me if I’d be interested in becoming head coach.”
Douglass said that ever since he got into coach as a profession, it’s been his dream to come back to his hometown and coach, so the answer to that question was easy: YES!
And so at the beginning of the school year, Douglass became the head girls’ basketball coach, assistant girls’ high school girls softball coach in both fall and spring seasons, head junior high girls’ softball coach in both fall and spring seasons, and continued his position as a paraprofessional in both the middle and high school. In short, he’s a busy man, but he insists that’s just how he likes it.
Douglass said he wakes up every day, ready to go to work – that’s how much he enjoys his job.
“It’s a wonderful feeling,” he said. “I feel at home here, I know these kids and their parents and enjoy interacting with them. It’s so special to me, and I’m blessed to be doing this. I want to keep the black and gold running through my veins. I love it.”
Douglass and his Lady Indians played their first game of the season against S&S, a consolidated school between Whitesboro and Sherman, Texas last Tuesday, and Douglass admits there were jitters.
“It feels good to have our first win,” he said, “but I’m glad to have that first game out of the way.”
And instead of going somewhere great – like Disney World, for example – to celebrate the big win, Douglass went home and watched the game film three times that night to see what the team needed to work on. After all, he insists, jokingly, his job is the easy one. He just tells the girls what to do and they take care of the hard part.
Douglass is dedicated to seeing that there are plenty more “W’s” to join that first one in the column, but at the same time, he hasn’t forgotten how he got to where he is now.
“I’m so grateful to the people in Marietta and Love County,” said Douglass. “When I was growing up, we didn’t have a lot of money, and there were a lot of people in this county who helped me get into AAU ball and made sure I had the things I needed. These people had my back and encouraged me the whole time I was growing up. I wouldn’t be where I am now without that support.”