Cody Helenbolt

Lady Cats coach Cody Helenbolt addresses his team at a game earlier this year. Helenbolt led the team to a 24-1 record and a 3A West Regional Title.

The Douglas Lady Cats may not have been able to defend their title this year, but the individual awards keep coming in.

The girls basketball head coach Cody Helenbolt was awarded his fourth winter sports Coach of the Year award from the Wyoming Coaches’ Association, according to a release from past president Mike Lashley.

The award comes in the midst of the fallout from the novel coronavirus that stopped the Cats’ title defense in its tracks just minutes before playing their first game of the Wyoming High School Athletics Association 3A State Basketball Tournament at the Casper Events Center March 12.

The team was heavily favored to win their third-straight 3A state title, a feat that has never been achieved in the programs existence.

Since then, announcements of all-state and all-conference selections have filled the Wyoming basketball news cycle. Junior Allyson Fertig was named the Gatorade Player of the Year for the state of Wyoming, and now Helenbolt has been named Coach of the Year.

All the individual accolades are a reflection of the season they had as a team, and all of those honored with awards can thank those around them.

“It’s really a testament of the season we had as a whole group,” Helenbolt said. “It’s weird to win these kinds of awards but you feel the same way you want your team to feel and that’s appreciative of everything that goes into it. Just like our players can’t score without their teammates, a coach can’t coach his assistants and everyone else around them.”

The award is decided by other coaches that are members of the WCA, who choose from nominees who either won the state championship in their conference, were the runner up or were nominated by another member of the association. With the state championships for basketball being cancelled this year, the WCA decided that the winners of both the east and west regional tournaments would be the automatic locks.

“It makes you appreciate it knowing that they think enough of you that they would vote for you,” Helenbolt said. “There’s no guarantee, like I said it’s really a reflection of the great season we had as a whole group, I feel weird with the individual coaching awards because there’s a lot that goes into it, but it’s always nice to be recognized for all the hard work that you put in.”

Helenbolt gives all the credit to those around him.

“This award is really about the kids and everyone else who contributes to our program. Our players, assistant coaches, athletic director, trainers, managers and support staff are top notch which makes my job easier and allows our program to succeed and gain recognition. I have been lucky to get to work with the people in our program right now so I hope they feel proud of the awards that we have all been awarded.”

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