It was after Quinton Jefferson accepted the job as Buchholz High’s girls basketball coach in June that he heard about what happened this past season.
Even if he had known, Jefferson said, it wouldn’t have mattered.
“I knew the history of Buchholz basketball,” he said. “They have always been good. It didn’t matter who was their coach, their female sports have always been good.
“I’m from Baker County, and, as an outsider looking in, a lot of people look at Buchholz as a prestigious school. There have been a number of premier athletes that have come through that school.”
What happened last season was a low point for the program, which had won the Class 7A state title just two years ago. Because of the use of an ineligible player throughout the season, athletic director Jay Godwin pulled the Bobcats from their district tournament, forfeited their entire season and ultimately fired coach Rebecca Williams, a Buchholz alum, after eight seasons.
“Crazy as it may sound, I found out what went on after I was on board,” said Jefferson, whose father Harold Jefferson led Baker County to the state tournament in 1998. “If someone had told me I probably wouldn’t have paid attention. I saw the job online and I applied because it was a local job for me.
“The first time I stepped on campus it felt like I was at home. He (Godwin) didn’t have to sell it to me, I was pretty excited to even be considered for it.”
Jefferson has already got a jump on bonding with his team this summer, playing in some 19 games. Many were at the UF women’s basketball camp June 26-27 and others were in a summer league.
“We played a summer league game every Tuesday and Thursday night, those were some good games,” he said. “It was good for us and very good for me. I kind of got acquainted with the girls. We kind of got a head start on it.
“We have four returning seniors and one that should be big time for us in Chelsea Clark. We will really be depending on her. Hopefully she can be our floor general. She seems like she is going to perform well under pressure.”
Other seniors starters returning are Daysha Richards and Taylor and Emily McGee.
Jefferson — a former assistant girls basketball coach at Baker County, Orange Park and last season at Bradford — will be a head varsity coach for the first time when the Bobcats open their season in November. He had also been head girls basketball coach at Richardson Middle School in Lake City as well as assistant football coach, and was defensive coordinator for the Bradford High football team last season.
He said the girls rarely talk about last season.
“I don’t know if that is because of me,” Jefferson said. “I don’t talk about it a whole lot. The first time I was around the kids, they told me what’s up. I feel like I knew enough of what happened, some violations occurred.
“They do express that they are thankful they are still having a basketball program. Some felt girls basketball was going to be done. Especially the older girls. They have enough respect for me and their old coach they don’t talk a lot about it.”