“She’s a good coach,” Roberts said. “She made practices intense, because, if you want to win, you have to work hard. She kept us going.”
“I played for her for four years, and it was intense every year,” she said. “When we messed up, she’d make us run. She ran us to get us in shape, but that also helped condition us and got us ready for opponents.”
Arthur didn’t deny that she’s a tough coach. She evened admitted to being somewhat obsessive.
“I’ve been told I am a perfectionist,” she said. “I don’t like to leave the court on a missed ball. If the girls are shooting, I tell them, ‘Don’t leave the court until you make a shot.’ I like to leave (practice) on a positive note that we’ve done it right, because, if we don’t, I’ll focus on it too much the next day, and I want to get it done the day of.
“Maybe it’s because of the way I was raised. My mom was pretty much a perfectionist and strict, so that carried on into me and how I do things.”
Arthur’s coaching style was just what McEachern needed this season.
After falling short of a state championship with a loss in the finals last year, the Lady Indians roared back this time around, concluding the season with the Class AAAAA state title, a 33-0 record, a No. 2 national ranking from ESPN and a No. 3 showing from USA Today.
“I pictured us winning (the state title) back in July, but I never thought it would be 33-0,” said Arthur, the 2011-12 Marietta Daily Journal/Cobb County Girls Basketball Coach of the Year. “I knew we could (be state champions). I didn’t know how we were going to get it done, but I knew we’d get it done.”
Wilson was quick to say that Arthur deserved the coaching award.
“She really does deserve it,” Wilson said. “She’s not like any other coach in the county. She’s intense with practice, but cares for us outside of practice. She’s like a mother to us. She does stuff other coaches probably wouldn’t do. She’d take us out to eat together and kept us strong as a unit and made us feel like a big family.”
“She kept us focused on what we needed to do to win state and made us keep our grades up,” Roberts added. “She always said that we were students first.”
There’s no denying that, at 33-0 with national ranking, Arthur coached one of the best girls basketball teams in Georgia history. According to her, this year’s McEachern team had very few weaknesses.
She’s hoping future teams can be just as successful.
“We had strengths at every position,” Arthur said, “but their main strength was the ability to play good defense. All of the players, especially the top seven, had a high basketball IQ. I didn’t have to teach them a lot of Xs and Os, and we didn’t have to run a lot of offense. They were very quick and determined, and that was a key to our success this year.
“This has been a unique group of seniors, and I’ve had them since the sixth grade. I think they were 57-0 in middle school, and since they’ve been at McEachern, they’ve only lost around 20-something games, so that’s 20-something losses in their career. I’m not looking to fill their shoes, because that’s impossible, but I’ll be looking for players who are willing to come in and emulate what they’ve done and how those girls played.”
“It was one heck of season and a very fun ride. Coaches don’t come across teams like this a lot in their careers, and when they do, it’s rare. I told the girls to enjoy it, because they may never have the opportunity to feel this way again.”