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Thu. September 2, 2010 | Eduardo A. Encina

Jefferson hires new girls basketball coach

Jefferson has hired Bethune-Cookman assistant coach Jim Baxter to be its new girls basketball coach, athletic director Bob Morgan, said Thursday.

Baxter inherits a Dragons team that has established itself as one of the bay area’s elite girls basketball programs under former coach Tom Mosca, who left the position in June to take an assistant coach job at Air Force.

The Dragons went 28-4 last season, advancing the Class 4A state tournament. Over the past two seasons, the Dragons were 36-6 with a one state tournament appearance and another region final appearance.

"The thing I liked was his experience," Morgan said. "He started out in high school. He's coached boys and girls.  He came highly recommended from Tom. He's been to some of our games as an assistant at Bethune-Cookman and has seen our kids so he knows some of our kids. I think he's the right guy to come in and continue what Tom has done and make us stronger and stronger. We're looking forward to it."

Like Mosca before him, Baxter brings a wealth basketball coaching experience to the Jefferson bench. He’s been in coaching for nearly four decades. Before joining Bethune-Cookman last season, he was an assistant at Monmouth for eight seasons.

His resume also includes a head coaching stint for the ABA’s Memphis Houn’Dawgs, as well working as a men’s assistant at FAMU and Tallahassee Community College.

Baxter was also head boys coach at Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas, coached the Team Florida AAU club team and was head boys coach at Palatka.

Jefferson lost just one starter, point guard Jade Givens (now at North Florida), from last year, which included a 16-game win streak that ended with a Class 4A state semifinal loss to Pensacola. The Dragons return four starters, including leading scorer Laurie' Beatty and forwards Shayla Wilson, Chantrell Frazier and Bene'e Glanton.

-- EDUARDO A. ENCINA (eencina@sptimes.com)

Photo courtesy of b-cuathletics.com

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