Sporting 250-plus career victories, four National Tournament appearances and one Women's Basketball Coaches Association National Coach of the Year honor, Cayla Petree has been tabbed to head the Morehead State women's basketball program.
"I am excited to welcome Coach Petree to the Morehead State family. While she has an extraordinary track record of success on the court, her commitment to the complete development of her student-athletes is inspiring," said Director of Athletics Jaime Gordon. "Our fans will relate to her passion and love for the game and find her engaging and approachable. Her energy is contagious, and I look forward to what the future of Morehead State Basketball has in store."
Petree is thrilled to be the next head coach of the Eagle program.
"I am extremely excited to lead this Division I program. It's been a goal of mine for probably the last 25 years, and Morehead State is the perfect opportunity. I am so grateful," said Petree. "I feel like Jaime (Gordon) and I have similar visions for what MSU can be. He is very culture-oriented and student-athlete experience driven, and so am I.
"I have already spoken with our student-athletes, and I could genuinely see their excitement. They are ready to go to work in building our culture. That's one of the things I am protective of. We are going to work extremely hard, but the player experience is one of the things I know will set our program apart."
Petree joins the Morehead State program after a single season at Gulf Coast State College (Panama City, Fla.) that culminated in a trip to the National Junior College Athletic Association Women's Basketball National Tournament in Lubbock, Texas. The Commodores earned the No. 15 national seed at the NJCAA National Tournament.
En route to the NJCAA National Tournament, Gulf Coast State finished runner-up in the Florida College System Activities Association/NJCAA Region VIII Championship, knocking off No. 1 seed and eventual National Champion Northwest Florida State in the process with the loss being one of only two suffered by Northwest Florida State on the season.
Under Petree's guidance, the Commodores led NJCAA Region VIII in scoring, averaging 75.0 points per game, exceeding the average in 13 of the team's 22 games on the season. Guard Nia Daniel led Gulf Coast State in scoring in 2020-21, averaging 22.7 points per game to lead NJCAA Region VIII and rank fourth in the NJCAA in scoring, earning Daniel First Team All-American honors.
Prior to her time at Gulf Coast State, Petree led South Plains College (Levelland, Texas) for five seasons, amassing a 127-36 overall record and three NJCAA National Tournament appearances.
"Morehead State basketball, both men's and women's, has a long history of success and with postseason play," she said. "We are going to be working toward playing in the postseason again, and I feel like our culture and work ethic will lead us to our goals. We are going to need the entire campus and community's help, and we are going to build a community and make this the toughest place to play in the OVC. This community is a great place to live and work, and I know we will work very diligently to have our program be an integral part of our community."
Petree's best season at the helm of the Texans program came in her final campaign in 2019-20 as South Plains College wrapped the season with a 32-1 record, including a 26-game win streak to open the year, to earn the No. 2 national seed in the NJCAA National Tournament, prior to the Covid-19 global pandemic. Despite the abrupt end to the campaign, the season culminated in National Coach of the Year honors from the WBCA, NJCAA, and WhoopDirt.com.
The 2018-19 season proved a historic season for South Plains College as the program finished 30-5 and earning an at-large bid and No. 10 overall seed for the NJCAA National Tournament. The season saw Petree garner Western Junior College Athletic Conference Coach of the Year honors, being named a WBCA National Coach of the Year finalist after leading the Texans to the programs first-ever No. 1 national ranking-joined by the 2019-20 club for the program's only two No. 1 national rankings.
Leading the 2018-19 Texans, guard Gabbie Green achieved NJCAA and WBCA All-American status under Petree's tutelage. Green also added NJCAA Region V Player of the Year honors during the season while guiding South Plains College to an NJCAA Elite Eight appearance, averaging 14.4 points per game, including scoring in double figures in 23 games on the season.
Petree's 2016-17 squad made a trip to the NJCAA Sweet Sixteen after earning the No. 9 national seed following a 28-6 season. The season also featured the first of three WBCA National Coach of the Year finalist selections in Petree's South Plains College tenure.
Her first season (2015-16) at the helm of the Texans program saw Petree engineer an 11-win turnaround for the program, claiming the program's first 20-win campaign in two seasons as South Plains College finished 20-11 on the year. In addition to the team's 11-win turnaround, the Texans improved their scoring average by nearly 13 points in Petree's first season.
During the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons, Petree helmed the Angelo State University (NCAA Division II; San Angelo, Texas) program, leading the program to a pair of Lone Star Conference Tournament appearances.
Petree spent the 2012-13 season as an assistant at North Texas, helping the Mean Green earn the No. 6 seed in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament-North Texas's final Sun Belt Tournament prior to joining Conference USA. In her lone season with the Mean Green program, Petree tutored 2013 Sun Belt Freshman of the Year and future Women's National Basketball Association draft pick Loryn Goodwin who set the North Texas single-season record for three-pointers made while averaging 13.1 points per game and leading the conference in steals (83).
Petree's head coaching career began at her alma mater, Cisco College (Cisco, Texas), during the 2006-07 season, debuting as one of the youngest head coaches in the NJCAA. Taking over a program that hadn't won a game in two seasons, she engineered a massive turnaround, leading the Wrangler program to three 20-win seasons and three NJCAA Region V Tournament appearances in her six seasons at the helm, guiding the program to 93 wins during her tenure.
Starting her coaching career, Petree was an assistant at New Mexico Junior College (Hobbs, N.M.) during the 2005-06 season.
Prior to her coaching career, Petree played two seasons at Cisco College before playing a single season at Texas Tech with the Red Raiders advancing to the 2003 NCAA Women's Basketball Championship Elite Eight in her lone season in Lubbock, Texas.
Petree earned a Bachelor's of Science Degree in exercise and sport sciences and a Master's of Science Degree in sport management from Texas Tech in 2004 and 2006, respectively.