If former A&M Consolidated standout Karla Calhoun coaches the way she played — when her name was Karla Gilbert — good things are going to continue for the Rudder girls basketball program.
Rudder filled its vacant head coach position Thursday by hiring Calhoun, one the Brazos Valley’s most successful players in her sport.
After her senior season at Consol, Calhoun played in the 33rd annual McDonald’s All-American basketball game and the 19th annual Women’s Basketball Coaches Association’s All-America game. The No. 1 rated post player in the class of 2010 by ESPN’s HoopGurlz signed with Texas A&M, helping the Aggies win the national championship in 2011. Calhoun spent the last three seasons as a varsity assistant coach at College Station after playing professionally in Israel and Spain. She believes she’s ready to pass on what she’s learned.
“My coaching style is high expectation and determination and bring it forth with whatever talent you have,” Calhoun said.
Calhoun played at Consol under her mother Nelda Gilbert, who also played at Consol then North Texas. Gilbert helped forge her coaching philosophy as did her father, former A&M standout Jimmie Gilbert, along with A&M head coach Gary Blair and former and current A&M assistants Vic Schaefer, Bob Starkey, Kelly Bond and Johnnie Harris along with her AAU coaches.
“I’ve been blessed to see a lot of variety [of coaching] when you’ve played basketball all your life,” Calhoun said. “I’ve picked up some of my style from my AAU [coaches]. Like Howard Randle — there’s a lot of them. I’d like to say we were one of the best AAU teams. It’s taken all the experiences, good and bad, to create my style.”
Calhoun replaces John Shelton, who retired last month after 31 seasons, including two stints at Rudder and one at Bryan.
“Coach Shelton has done an awesome job,” Calhoun said. “I am so excited to embark on this journey with Rudder High School and the Rangers. Family is family, and I welcome Rudder nation as my extended family.”
Shelton leaves behind one of the area’s most consistent programs. Rudder has made 12 straight playoff appearances, a run that Calhoun will try to continue.
“Coach Calhoun is a great addition to Rudder High School,” Rudder principal Rachel Layton said in a press release. “She is a successful basketball player and coach on many levels. She is from the B-CS community and will be a great mentor for our Lady Ranger basketball team.”
Calhoun is married to Aleon Calhoun. They have three children — Kamora (3), Aleon (1) and Aleiya (1).