Pat Summitt Protégé Leads California School for the Deaf Girls Basketball Team to Victory

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Coach Debbie Ayres Completes Winning Season with Bay Area High School Girls Basketball Team

Coach Debbie Ayres, a noted success of mentor Coach Pat Summitt, has just finished the season of her life as Head Basketball Coach for the California School for the Deaf (CSD). Coaching the girl's team since 2006, Coach Ayres and the CSD team have just placed second in the North Coast Section (Division VI) Finals competing, for the first time, against unrivaled teams from the Bay Area's private and public high schools.

Coach Ayres is not able to shout to her team to remind them to "box-out", watch for the screen, to change a play, or to warn them that defense is coming up behind them to make a steal. Ayres must wait for dead ball situations to gain the attention of her players to communicate whatever it is that she wants them to do or not do. Ayres is infamous in the Deaf community for stomping the floor with her high heels; so that, the players can feel the vibration and look to her for direction. She also runs the sidelines waving her arms to gain the attention of her players.

"The North Coast Section (Division VI) win would be a milestone for any team but given that the girls rely on visual cues rather than sound, makes our win an even more amazing accomplishment," said CSD Head Coach Debbie Ayres. "I am so proud of these girls - they worked hard and proved that they can compete with any team. I'm overwhelmed by their potential."

Big Wins for California School for the Deaf
The North Coast Section (Division VI) is not the only place these girls have received acclaim this season - the team won the Consolation Championship at the St. Elizabeth's Holiday Tournament; finished 3rd in the Clerc Classic National Deaf Basketball Tournament in Frederick, Maryland, placed 3rd in the Western States Deaf Basketball Classic in Riverside, CA, and 3rd in the Bay County Basketball League where their overall record was 20 -11.

Four of the players, CSD seniors, will be graduating in June including: Arica Jones of Tracy, Alicia Johnson of San Jose, Shea Rasmus, of Fremont and Angel Bender, San Francisco.

About Coach Deborah Ayres
While coaching at Vallejo High School, her first job, Debbie wrote to Women's Basketball Coach Pat Summitt asking if she could work for her. "Pat is the best teacher in the game," states Debbie. Pat politely wrote back saying that she hired only former players. Undeterred, Debbie took a job at Iowa State as a part-time assistant while attending grad school and decided to write Pat again. Her persistence paid off when Pat called her for an interview. Debbie got the job and went to Tennessee to finish her graduate work and learn from Coach Summitt. Her impressive resume speaks for itself and includes: The University of Tennessee, Head Coach at Solano Community College, Head Basketball Coach at California State University, Fullerton; USA Deaf National Women's Gold Medal World Games Coach, and assistant at Stony Brook University. ESPN lists Debbie Ayres as one Pat Summitt successes.

About the California School for the Deaf
Located at 39350 Gallaudet Drive in Fremont, CA 94538 - http://www.csdf.k12.ca.us/, the Home of the Eagles provides comprehensive educational programs which create a strong foundation for future learning among graduates in an accessible learning environment that recognizes Deaf students and adults as culturally and linguistically distinct. CSD ensure that students receive a quality education with emphasis on full communication access through fluency in both American Sign Language and English. This enables students to reach their maximum potential while preparing them to function effectively in a diverse technologically-evolving world.

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