Brescia Hires First Woman to Lead NAIA Men's Program

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Sarah Gayler recently became the first woman head coach of an NAIA men’s basketball team.

According to The Owensboro Times, Gayler has been hired as Brescia University’s director of athletics and men’s basketball coach. Gayler reportedly arrived Sept. 13 and met the team Sept. 16.

“This opportunity, honestly, I saw it and it fell in my lap and I was like, ‘You know what? I’m going to go for it,’ ” Gayler said, noting that she’s familiar working with men’s basketball teams. “There’s two aspects to that. I’m so blessed and I’m so excited to be a part of that and (thankful) again for (dean of students) Dr. Clary and (president) Father Larry (Hostetter) having that confidence in me. But also, I’ve been coaching for 13 years and I’ve been a part of the men’s program for the last 12, so it’s just another Friday.”

An Oklahoma native, the 35-year-old Gayler played basketball on scholarship at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith and the University of New Orleans. After graduating with a degree in Business Management, she continued to play semi-professionally and coach basketball, while also becoming a Certified Personal Trainer last decade.

She has held numerous jobs in basketball, including with the Dallas Diesel men’s basketball program from 2012-14, the Kentucky Mavericks and Jr. NBA-India. Gayler most recently worked in scouting and basketball operations for the Milwaukee Bucks.

“I think she just has a ton of experience and you’ve heard her speak,” Hostetter said. “She presents herself very well and understands how to help us understand what she brings to the program.”

Brescia University is a Catholic university located in Owensboro, Ky. The Bearcats, who went 3-12 last season, will start the 2021-22 season Nov. 1 against Murray State University.

Related content: Lisa Byington Makes History as Bucks’ Announcer

Related content: In First, Georgia Hires a Woman to Coach a Men’s Team

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