Miami Dade College Lady Sharks basketball head coach, Susan Summons, can add another accomplishment to her career; a National Junior College Athletic Association Hall of Fame induction.
Summons will be officially inducted into the NJCAA Hall of Fame at the NJCAA banquet held at Northwest State College, Niceville, Fla. on Jul. 26.
This marks the fourth Hall of Fame that Summons will be inducted into. In 2002, Summons was inducted into the Rhode Island International Scholar Hall of Fame; in 2008 she was inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame, and in 2010, Summons was selected for the Florida College System Activities Association.
“It’s a great accomplishment,” Summons said. “It is a reflection that people in the national level in my industry, sports and education, acknowledge the commitment and the service I have given to the women sports and to the game itself.”
Summons, who has been coaching at MDC for 27 years, said she has noticed a change in the type of athletes this generation is producing. Summons said that today’s players seem to be easily distracted, challenging her more as a coach.
One of the ways that Summons motivates her team to play harder is through example.
“If [this team] sees that me any my coaching staff believe they can win, then they believe they can win,” Summons said.
The Lady Sharks had a rough start this season losing their first seven games. At the Christmas break the team was 4-11. Now with seven games left in the season, the Lady Sharks are conference contenders with a 3-5 record in Conference games.
“Even while we were losing, I told my players, don’t focus on where we are standing, but focus on where we are going,” Summons said.
The Sharks have been on a tear winning three of the last five conference games producing a 3-5 record against the Southern Conference. During this span the Lady Sharks defeated conference rival Indian River State College at home, 65-63 on Jan. 23rd.
Veteran center AnnMarie Harris was a bright spot for the Lady Sharks at home versus Broward College, dropping 20 points and putting on a clinic under the glass with a team-leading eight rebounds.
Guards Jasmin Burger and Vernessa Hinnant were versatile in the transition game on the road providing the Lady Sharks with a combined 33 points versus Brevard Community College. That was followed by a whopping 27-point performance by Hinnant, which propelled the Lady Sharks in their win against Indian River State College.
“I feel like once we are going, it’s tough to stop us,” Hinnant said.
In order to help the Lady Sharks elevate their game, Summons has raised the bar, and changed the intensity of their conditioning. They have been working with weighted ropes, and Summons implemented a new system where the team completes 20 suicide sprints in 20 minutes.
“We have the pieces. We are on a journey. We are in the best position we can be in right now,” Summons said. “All you have to do is keep working.”
Staff writer Jonathan Perez contributed to this article.