Consol girls basketball coach will finish season

Longtime A&M Consolidated girls basketball coach Sue Betts has decided to resign as coach, but she will remain as the school's assistant athletic director.

Betts has spent 31 years coaching at Consol, building a 526-239 record in 24 seasons as head coach. Her last game will be Tuesday against Bryan at Reed Arena.

"I thought about giving up coaching basketball several years ago, but I wanted to see this group of seniors through their senior year," Betts said. "As the season went along, I felt the time had come to step down from coaching and let someone else take over.

"Several years ago, I asked Bob Caskey, who was my AD here a long time ago, how you know when it's time to quit coaching. He said you just know in your heart that you don't want to coach any more. I began to get that feeling this year."

Betts, 57, took over as head coach in 1982 and led the Lady Tigers to 10 district championships and 16 playoff appearances.

"All of us girls coaches, especially in the Brazos Valley, probably owe her a lot of thank-yous for what she's done for girls basketball," Bryan coach John Shelton said. "I'm sure when she started out coaching, girls basketball was left on the back burner. Over the years, she's brought it to the forefront, not just with the success she's had but by promoting the game for girls."

Last season, Betts won her 500th game to become the 26th active girls basketball coach in Texas to reach the milestone.

"Sue's a competitor," said former girls basketball coach Marsha Porter, who became an assistant athletic director at Conroe in 2002 after winning more than 700 games in 33 seasons with the Tigerettes. "We knew we were always going to have a game if we played her kids. She's in a minority because most coaches move around and sometimes cherry-pick programs for athletes. You always respect people that have stayed in one place and developed a program and stuck it out."

Betts spent one year coaching the eighth grade team at Chillicothe before coming to Consol as an assistant to Art Bright in 1975.

"I knew I'd coach for a long, long time, but I never thought I would be able to coach at one school 31 years," Betts said. "I have no regrets. If I could go back and start all over again, I wouldn't change one thing I've done over the last 31 years. I've worked with the greatest kids that went through A&M Consolidated."

Betts' best season came in 1986 when Consol reached the state championship game.

"That's a memory you'll never forget," Betts said. "I remember that group of girls as freshmen told me they were going to Austin as seniors, and they did it."

Betts said some of her other favorite memories include the team that upset Georgetown in the 1997 regional semifinals and another team whose starters had an average SAT score of 1,280.

"Sue's the epitome of coaches," Consol athletic director Jim Slaughter said. "She has always done a great job. She demands a lot out of her kids and a lot out of her coaches. She's old-school when it comes to that."

Betts had her first losing season two years ago, going 7-23 and missing the playoffs for the first time in six years. This season, the Lady Tigers are 15-15 with two games left.

Consol usually starts a freshman and a sophomore, with another sophomore playing a significant amount. Betts said there is more talent coming from the junior high school programs.

"It goes in cycles," Betts said. "I think we're back up this year. We're at 15-15 now, and I think in the next few years it's going to go higher than that. I feel good that somebody's going to be able to come in and take these young kids all the way to the top like I did."

Consol players said they were happy to have given Betts her 500th victory last season but frustrated that they haven't had more success.

"I feel kind of bad that we haven't lived up to her teams' reputations," said senior Tori Williams, whose mother played for Betts. "Coach Betts is a good coach. Some people think she's tough, but you've just got to get to know her. She's a really good person. She works with you and does everything she can to make you better."

Consol boys basketball coach Rusty Segler said the coaching profession's loss will be the Consol athletic department's gain.

"She's a great leader, a great administrator," Segler said. "With her doing the AD stuff, it's going to make Jim's job easier and all of the coaches' jobs easier."

Slaughter said Consol officials have not set a timetable to hire a new coach.

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