From Teacher to Coach: Bullett is Back

A local basketball legend is coming home. Vicky Bullett, the former Washington Mystic, All-American at the University of Maryland and Olympic gold medalist, is set to embark on a new challenge: coaching.

Bullett, a resident of Martinsburg, West Virginia and a self-described “homebody”, was elated when new Mystics head coach Julie Plank asked her to join the coaching staff.

“When [Coach Plank] called, I was excited just to hear from her,” Bullett said. “Opportunities have come but I haven’t taken them because they would take me away from home. Washington D.C. is pretty close and this is something that I’ve always wanted to do.”

As a player for the Mystics from 2000-2002, Bullett was an instrumental part of the team that made the Eastern Conference Finals in 2002. In her final season with the Mystics, Bullett ranked eighth in the WNBA in blocked shots at 1.16 per game. Bullett fondly remembers her playing days in Washington.

“I got to see a lot of people that I knew come to the games,” Bullett said of her time in Washington. “It was neat having the atmosphere of people watching you play who had seen me play up to that point in my career.”

For the last three years, Bullett has served as a middle school teacher in Martinsburg. Though Bullett will have to leave her students one month early to join the coaching staff, she could not turn down Plank’s invitation.

On the court, teaching should come naturally for Bullett. Throughout her WNBA career, she was consistently ranked among the league’s top rebounders and field-goal percentage shooters. Bullett looks forward to sharing her expertise on low-post play.

“I’d like to work on the interior part of the game.” Bullett said. “I’m real big on defensive concepts. We’re all going to do our role working with the post players. I told Coach Plank that I’d like to concentrate mostly on post defense. I’m going to try to get our post players to get steals like guards.”

Though she intends to work with the whole team, Bullett is especially eager to work with her fellow Maryland alum Crystal Langhorne.

“I’m excited to work with Crystal and to try to get her to be more versatile,” Bullett said. “She’s a block-to-block player but we’re just going to try to get her more versatile in the post area.”

While Bullett is thrilled about the opportunity to teach, she is also eager to learn from her fellow coaches. In her free time, Bullett watches game tapes of her new players to better understand their tendencies.

As a former WNBA player, Bullett understands the pressures and expectations placed upon a team. Though she’s only six years removed from her playing days, Bullett still believes that she can relate to today’s players.

“I was always in the middle trying to be a positive individual,” Bullett said. “Negativity is dangerous. We’ve got to come in with a positive attitude and try to get this team to play together.”

Bullett, who is working on a master’s degree in education, is thrilled to embark on her coaching career. As she moves from the classroom to the basketball court, Bullett should be a quick study.

“I’ve got to remember to call them ladies not kids because I’ve coached kids all my life. That will be a transition,” Bullett said with a chuckle.