Maumelle didn’t go very far to find its head girls’ basketball coach. An assistant last season, Rodney Gilmore was named the girls’ basketball coach last spring.

For Gilmore, it’s a return to coaching in an area he loves. Prior to becoming the assistant, Gilmore was the boys’ basketball coach at Stuttgart for six years. Before his Stuttgart tenure, he was the girls’ basketball coach at Eudora and is excited about coaching girls again.

"There is a big difference between boys and girls," Gilmore said. "You can’t get the LeBron James’ and Dwayne Wade’s out of their minds until the end of the year. Girls are eager to learn and have a greater appreciation. You teach them something, and they get it immediately. Coaching girls is my first love, and I had great success with them."

At Stuttgart, Gilmore compiled a 55-50 record and was 48-20 at Eudora. Wanting to get closer to his family and Little Rock and to get back into the girls’ game, he took the assistant’s job at Maumelle last season and was responsible for the offense. So that transition has been an easy one.

"Sometimes you have to take a step back to go forward," Gilmore said. "We went to state because of the system I did, and the girls know the system."

However, the Hornets will be very young, but Gilmore is encouraged because the girls coming back got a lot of playing time last season. One thing he has changed this year is the mindset of the girls. Instead of playing AAU basketball, he has encouraged them to work out during the summer at the school.

"It’s always exciting to be back and being a head coach," Gilmore said. "I feel we can be one of the top four in the conference. To be number again will be tough. There are some new variables, and it will be a challenge, and I look forward to it."