Coach Erin Brunton is taking the Franklin women’s basketball program by storm. After a losing record (more losses than wins) last season during league play under former head coach David Jaynes, Brunton hopes to reignite the program with her intensity and goal-oriented mindset. Brunton explains, “I am huge in setting goals, I have goals myself, I want my players to have individual goals and I want us to have clear goals as a team.” Maya Sanders (11), Franklin varsity basketball athlete, agrees that Brunton will help build a successful program by “establishing clear goals for the team and reinforcing a competitive environment.”
Franklin varsity basketball athlete Isa Hensley (12) shares her first impression of Brunton; “I was thrilled by her presence, because she has a very strong personality. She is both passionate and direct.” Sanders adds, “She always has a plan, everything she does is well thought out and organized.”
Brunton fell in love with basketball at a young age. “I have always been competitive since I was little, so [basketball] hooked me from day one,” she reflects. “I love the high intensity of the game, the quick scoring, the quick transitions from offense to defense, and the fast paced nature of the game.”
Brunton grew up in Southwest Portland, where she played varsity basketball for Jesuit High School. While she played for the program, her team advanced to state three years and placed second her sophomore year. Her senior year she was titled captain and awarded season MVP. After turning down a full ride athletic scholarship to the University of Portland due to injury, Brunton decided to settle at Oregon State University where she majored in exercise and sports science. During her sophomore year Brunton was recruited to play overseas. She got to travel throughout New Zealand and Australia playing against professional, semi-professional and collegiate teams. Later on she got a masters of Coaching and Athletic Administration at Concordia University Irvine. Brunton’s experiences on and off the court make her a perfect fit for the position. “As a female athlete who is looking to play at the collegiate level, Erin is a perfect role model,” says Hensley.
Brunton reflects on the importance of representation of women in leadership, specifically in athletics; “I think [representation] is huge, it is definitely improving but I think there can always be more female coaches. I was very fortunate that my two main coaches for basketball growing up were women. They were huge influences in my life and they are one of the main reasons why I am coaching today.” Brunton elaborates on the power of seeing yourself reflected in those that lead you; “It is very important for young girls to look up to strong, confident, successful women, whether it’s in athletics or politics, whatever the career may be, it’s essential. The majority of my coaching staff is female and I am really excited to bring that positive influence to Franklin.”
Brunton shares her hopes for her athletes for the upcoming season; “I want them to compete, I want them to improve as basketball players, but most importantly I want them to grow as young student athletes on and off the court.” The lessons athletics can teach us about ourselves are invaluable, and the sisterhoods that athletics build can last a lifetime. “Going into the season I want our team to foster a positive environment, I want this season to be an experience that everybody enjoys,” says Hensley.
Brunton explains her tactics for the team as a head coach; “My style of play is quick and defensively minded. I love to press, trap, catch teams off guard and score quick transition buckets.” She hopes to build off of the already-existing team chemistry; “The first thing that stood out to me was their friendliness towards each other, it seems like they know each other very well.”
The team has been hard at work during preseason training doing a variety of conditioning drills in the weight room, on the track, and in the gym, not only bolstering their individual skill sets but building team camaraderie. Brunton sees a lot of potential in the team; “I am excited for what Franklin has to offer. The team has a hunger to learn and competitiveness that just needs to be unleashed. I think they are ready for the next level, we just need to fine tune some things.” A storm is brewing and the Franklin Lightning are going to strike.