Augustin finds quick success in first year as St. Paul head coach

St. Paul is off to an 8-0 start this season.

ST. PAUL, Kan. – Calea Augustin is not where she thought she would be a few years ago.

“I definitely didn’t think I would be coaching,” Augustin says, “I went to college for accounting, and then after college I realized that’s not something I wanted to do.”

The former Girard basketball standout graduated high school in 2017 – before playing for two years at Neosho Community College in Chanute.

“I quit playing the game and realized I still wanted to be a part of the atmosphere and everything,” Augustin says, “I came here two years ago and started as a junior high boys assistant coach and just kind of worked my way up. I really didn’t want to get away from the sports, so I was really happy to be able to step right back into after college.”

The success as a head coach has come quickly for Augustin at St. Paul.

The team is 8-0 to begin the season and has climbed to #4 in the latest KBCA 1A-DI state rankings released on Tuesday.

“I definitely couldn’t do it without the girls that we have,” Augustin says.

“It feels amazing to get off to a good start,” says St. Paul senior Emerald Struthers-O’Brien, “I felt like we were going to be pretty good this year. We’ve always been toward the top of our league. Getting off to a good start kind of sets the tone.”

“They’ve been playing together so long. It just makes them really easy to coach,” Augustin says of her team, “They’re all coachable and work really well together and kind of know each others’ moves.”

Some of her players actually watched her play just a few years ago and a few miles down the road.

“I’ve watched Girard play just because we heard of coach Calea,” Struthers-O’Brien says, “I’ve gone back and watched videos of her. I’ve kind of stepped into her role and I’ve tried to be just like she was.”

Augustin helped Girard win a state championship as a player in 2017.

“It’s great to have her here,” adds St. Paul senior Claire Bradshaw, “She knows how to do it and I think she can take us there, for sure.”

It’s something Augustin is hoping to do as a coach now at St. Paul.

“That has always been one of their goals,” Augustin says of the team aiming for a state championship, “That’s definitely what we’re looking for this year.”

“I think it would be awesome to return to the state tournament and make it further than the first round,” adds St. Paul senior Elise Doherty, “I think we have a really good shot this year. I’m excited to see how it goes for us. I think we can do it.”

“We’ve had one state opportunity last year, and we kind of blew it in the first round,” Struthers-O’Brien says, “That was hard.”

“It would be extraordinary for all of us, I think,” Bradshaw finishes, “I think everybody would love that.”

St. Paul is playing in the Mid-Season Classic at Yates Center High School this week. The Indians will face Cherryvale in the tournament semifinals on Thursday night.