June 12, 2023

Coach Spotlight: Women's Basketball Coach Brittnee Perry

By B&SC Athletics Team

Coach Spotlight: Women's Basketball Coach Brittnee Perry

Bryant & Stratton College Bobcats women’s basketball coach Brittnee Perry came to the sport pretty late. She didn’t start playing until she was in seventh grade, but she quickly realized that she not only had a passion for the sport but skill as well. “I was a late bloomer,” says Brittnee, “but once I started getting serious about it, I realized that I was going to go pretty far with it. I became pretty good within a short amount of time.”

Where It Began

Brittnee quickly made the Baseline Elite 716 travel basketball team and then went on to play for Hutchinson Central Technical High School in Buffalo. There, she won three Canisius Cups, was named Player of the Year in the Canisius Cup twice and was named a member of the All-Western New York team. As a senior in high school, she was also named Buffalo’s Game Changer by Nike House of Hoops. After a brief stint playing for Medaille University, Brittnee transferred to Buffalo State College, where she had a more-than-respectable collegiate career for the Lady Bengals, finishing with more than 1,000 points and more than 500 rebounds, with an average of a double-double per game. She was also named the team’s MVP twice and was named to the All-State University of New York Athletic Conference team.

After receiving her bachelor’s degree in health and wellness in 2016, Brittnee had aspirations of playing basketball abroad. “I had a dream of playing in the WNBA, but I was very realistic with myself,” she says. “I decided I was going to take my chance and try to play overseas.”

Overseas Aspirations

After speaking with her Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) coach, Rachelle “Rocko” Matthys, who told her about some overseas opportunities, Brittnee attended a basketball camp in Cologne, Germany, where she was able to showcase her talents, though she found there were some differences in the game there. “They have different rules for traveling as well as a different method for doing a layup,” says Brittnee. “I got matched up with a lot of players from the States, so it didn’t feel as though I was playing against international players.”

Despite being the only Division III player among Division I players at the camp, Brittnee caught the attention of some international teams. However, it didn’t make financial sense for her to accept any of the offers she received. “It was at that point that I decided to take a break from playing,” she says. “I ended up going to the sidelines and started coaching.”

Coaching Career

Brittnee started her coaching career as a volunteer assistant coach at Buffalo State as well as by coaching various junior varsity basketball and AAU teams, which was a transition she found both comfortable and gratifying. “I think I was able to contribute,” says Brittnee. “Certain aspects came naturally, particularly having had the career as a player that I had. There was a direct correlation when it came to the X’s and O’s.”

After some time on the sidelines, Brittnee became pregnant with the older of her two daughters. With the world of basketball now behind her, she settled into a career as a home health aide. That was until she received word that Bryant & Stratton College was looking for a head coach for its inaugural women’s team. “[Bryant & Stratton College men’s basketball coach], Coach Brown, brought it to my attention that there was going to be an opening, and I thought, ‘Oh, wow, that would be nice to be a part of the first women’s program in the school’s history,'” says Brittnee. “So I said, ‘Why not? I’m going to give it a shot.’ I didn’t have as much experience when it came to coaching, but I had experience in the game itself so far, so I thought I had a chance.”

Time to Get to Work

Once Brittnee got the head coach position, she quickly discovered that there was a bit of a learning curve. “I don’t think people understand how much goes into recruiting players,” she says. “You’ve got to get out there, and you’ve got to have the resources. The game itself came naturally to me, but the administrative parts, such as the budgeting and recruitment, were new to me.”

Another challenge was recruiting players for a brand-new basketball program, though Brittnee found that just being herself was the best recruitment strategy. “I kept everything really black and white,” she says. “I looked for ladies [who] needed a school to go to, and I just explained myself and my experience, and I helped make them realize how special it would be to create history.”

All of Brittnee’s efforts paid off, as the Bobcats went 22-7 in their first season and made it to the Final Four, though the national semifinals were canceled due to COVID-19. “We don’t know if we would have won the championship, but we had a very good season regardless. It was a breakout year.”

Being given the opportunity to coach helped Brittnee understand that she had the ability to overcome adversity. “I understand that I’m not a player, and I’ve learned that I have been able to face problems head-on and continue to do the job I was hired for,” she says. “At the same time, I’ve learned that I have the ability to motivate players and help them be better.”

As for next season, Brittnee has a bit of work ahead of her. “This year, I have seven girls graduating,” she says. “I’m looking for a whole new team. We’re filling all positions. So our team isn’t quite there yet, but we’re getting there.”

You learn more about the Bryant & Stratton College women’s basketball program here or fill out a recruitment form!