BOZEMAN — The Bozeman Gallatin girls basketball program named Belt native Taylor Cummings its newest head coach on Sept. 15.
She replaces Wes Holmquist who stepped down in the offseason.
Cummings played collegiately at MSU-Northern, where she was defensive player of the year and led her team to back-to-back NAIA national postseason appearances.
"Just was excited to have the opportunity to work with them after watching them play, and see, you know, what we could do with the potential and the talent that is here," Cummings said. "Knowing those other coaches and the type of support that I had coming into this position is really exciting."
Karsen Breeding, the sole senior for the Raptors, said the transition has been positive.
"I think it’s actually been really smooth. Coach is a really big leader on the court, and she brings a lot of intensity which is super nice," Breeding said. "So, she kind of brings out everyone’s energy and stuff, so it’s super awesome."
Cummings started her coaching career at Sheridan College and Black Hills State.
Her team achieved BHSU's first national tournament appearance and top-four finish in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.
She then moved back to the Treasure State and was the interim head coach at Lone Peak, before most recently serving as the sub-varsity coach at Bozeman High, where her record was 26-7 over the past two years.
"That’s why I do it, is just take what they gave me and continue to pass it on, you know?" Cummings said, referring to her favorite part of being a coach. "Continue to grow the game, and so then hopefully these kids, they take it, they pass it on. But just those life lessons that you learn from all those coaches over the years."
The team is looking to build on the season prior, one that featured the Raptor's first-ever state tournament appearance.
"I always say we’re aiming for a state championship," Cummings said of her coaching philosophy of setting high expectations. "That’s always the goal. That’s always what we’re working towards to make sure that’s how we are practicing every day."
Emma Hardman, a junior on the team, also spoke on the team's goal of winning it all.
"Obviously, win a state championship," she said. "After last year, we made the state tournament, but I’m, we’re hungry for more."
The players have bought in to the culture Cummings is building, one with a high level of intensity and communication.
"It’s been really good," Hardman said. "I think she’s, again, a great leader, and she definitely brings out the talk in us, I guess you could say."
"I think we really hope to build a season with accountability," Breeding said. "And I think both our coaches and our players are going to keep that going and bring the energy at practice."
Gallatin's season kicks off at Helena Capital on Saturday.