Lady Trojans get new director of basketball operations
Rebecca Chilton Peoples, originally from Arizona, grew up roping and rodeoing. She even beat future national barrel-racing champion Sherry Potter (Cervi) on a regular basis according to Tom Danehy, a writer for the Tucson Weekly.
“I’m the only one in my entire family that’s not into agriculture,” Peoples said. She was recently named director of basketball operations for women’s basketball at UALR.
A 1997 graduate of Prescott College in Prescott, Ariz., Peoples has 17 years of coaching experience beginning at Amphitheater High School in Tucson Ariz., where she and Danehy both coached, but with different philosophies.
“Tom is black and white, get it done, I don’t care how,” Peoples said of Danehy. “Particularly then, I was extremely into being fundamental, [a] step-by-step breakdown. We had very different theories on how to get to the same success.
After Amphitheater, Peoples began her collegiate coaching career as an assistant at Yavapai College, also in Prescott, Ariz., and then went to Northern Arizona University where she met her husband and current University of Arkansas director of high school relations, Kevin Peoples.
“We were both at Northern Arizona University, we got engaged [and] I followed him,” she said. “It just so happens that when we got to Jonesboro a couple years later, there was an opening.”
It was at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro where Peoples was named Arkansas State Assistant Coach of the Year in 2009. Her work in Arkansas State’s United Way Day of Caring, and her commitment to the WBCA Pink Zone in helping to raise breast cancer awareness on the court, led to her award. It was also her idea to put cancer survivors’ names on the back of the player’s jerseys.
“With the Pink Zone, we felt like WCBA making it a national pink zone breast cancer awareness push, that our approach would be ‘let’s identify and celebrate survivors in the community’,” Peoples said.
“Why in the world would we wear our own names on our backs that day when we’re wearing pink jerseys in celebration of these survivors? Let’s recognize them,” she reasoned.
Peoples is bringing her community service outreach program to UALR and mentioned that community service is important for division one student athletes, especially those that are in the limelight.
“For them to give back to the community is huge,” she said. “You can’t say enough about how this is teaching young ladies how they need to be leaders in the community.”
The Trojans will participate in the Pink Zone game on Feb. 2, 2011 against Denver.
When Arkansas football coach Bobby Petrino called Peoples’ husband for the director of high school relations job this past April, she followed him to Fayetteville. She did not stay for long though because her hiring at UALR was a perfect fit for her.
“Coach Foley and I have always had a great relationship, and I have always shared tremendous respect for him,” Peoples said.
“We kept in touch and it (her hiring at UALR) just kind of fell into place,” she said. “He’s one of the premier teachers in the game. He’s that good. I’ve only been here a couple weeks and I’ve learned a tremendous amount, so it’s exciting, it’s fresh and it’s new. What better job to have?”