When Tina Winn got the news on Wednesday that she had been hired as the new girls' basketball coach at Tates Creek, she was overcome with emotion.
"This means so much to me," she said. "I've cried and cried and thanked the Lord. I'm just overwhelmed right now. It's a dream come true."
Winn was a star player at Tates Creek in the 1980s. She was a sophomore starter on the Commodores' 1985 Sweet Sixteen team — the last time Tates Creek won the region championship.
She averaged a double-double in points and rebounds her last two years before going to play at Connors State Junior College in Oklahoma, and Oral Roberts University.
She moved back to Lexington 12 years ago and has been working in the school system's after-school program the last seven years.
Winn got back into coaching two years ago as an assistant under Justin Cheatham at Tates Creek.
When Cheatham stepped down after this past season, Winn applied for the job, but had no idea she'd get it.
"No way," she said. "It never crossed my mind. For it to happen this quickly, for me to be a head coach, it's like I'm dreaming."
Winn said the Tates Creek program feels like an extension of her family, not because she played here 25 years ago, but because of the support she received last year when her 22-year-old daughter Brittinee died of lupus.
"With all that happening, they were by my side so much, helping me, you would've thought they were my family," said Winn, who has a son, Robert, at Tates Creek Middle School.
Winn said the players know she's coaching "because I love the game.
"They know it has nothing to do with money. This is where my heart is. I want to help them get better and achieve the goals they have in basketball and in life."
Mike Fields: (859) 231-3337. Twitter: @MikeFieldsNotes. Blog: fieldsnotes.bloginky.com