Former Nederland coach Larry Sterling returns to familiar home

Published 12:10 am Wednesday, July 20, 2022

BRIDGE CITY – It has been a sweet Homecoming for Bridge City Lady Cardinals girls basketball coach Larry Sterling.

Sterling, who was the boys basketball coach at Bridge City from 2015-2018, is back in the saddle again in Cardinal Country to try to get the Lady Cardinals back on the winning track.

“I’m thrilled to be back, and at times it feels like I’ve never left,” said Sterling. “I remember so many of the faces around here from the kids, who so many of them were in junior high when I left, to all of the coaches. I had a great time coaching the boys here and now I’m so happy to get a chance to work with the girls.”

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Sterling has worked on the boys side of the game for the past 17 years.

He came over to Bridge City the first time after coaching at Vidor. During his three years as the Cardinals’ boys coach, he led the team to their first playoff appearance in 10 years in 2016.

Sterling left Bridge City after the 2018 season to be an assistant coach for long-time friend and Nederland head coach Brian English.

English has always been known for his coaching skills and getting the most out of his teams at both Vidor and Nederland over the years.

“Coach English is one of the best and he has a tremendous basketball mind,” said Sterling. “When you work with him, you’re working with one of the best for sure.”

Sterling likes how English has always gotten the best out of his players, whether or not if they had great talent or average talent.

“That’s what I want to do here with the girls, get the most out of their abilities,” said Sterling. “That’s what Brian has always done. I’ve seen him do it when we had guys like Hayden Hefner, who is now playing a lot at Texas A&M. Nothing quite like having scouts from A&M, Oklahoma and Texas hanging out at practices. And I saw how you can win with guys that just like to get after it.”

Now Sterling is preparing to make a smooth transition to the girls game.

“The rules are pretty much the same and the court is the same length, but, yes, there are a few differences, but it is still the game of basketball,” said Sterling. “I’ve been busy the last several years helping coach my girls’ Little Dribblers’ games and the skill set is a little different, but I adjusted well with that and I can’t wait to work with the team and get them to improve.”

It was a struggle last year for the Lady Cardinals as they managed just one District 22-4A victory.

“I know there is talent here, I’ve seen that firsthand when I was here before,” said Sterling. “We need to get some more kids out and get it to where they love the game. I would love for some girls concentrating on other sports to come out and play some basketball too. You have to start somewhere, and that begins with the fundamentals of the game. I’m more interested in getting the kids to buy in and have fun in what they are doing.”

There is definitely something else that Sterling is looking forward to.

“My two girls have always loved going to Bridge City,” said Sterling. “Now, I’m going to get a chance to coach them at the school level. That is going to be amazing.”

Sterling can’t wait to try to push the Lady Cardinals in the right direction.

“The biggest thing right now is just trying to get better each day,” said Sterling. “Hopefully we can good some good leadership from our seniors and juniors to help make that happen. Playoffs are always a goal, but right now, it’s all about getting better and showing improvement. I can’t wait to get it going and I’m pumped for when the season starts.”

— Story written by Van Wade of The Orange Leader