Playing Mom and Playing Ball: TJC Coach Balances Both

She has always been like a mom to her players, shelling out tough love and guidance.

But now, TJC coach Trenia Tills-Jones is not like a mom, she is a mom.

"Coach T," as she's known, gave birth to five month old Senoj just three weeks before the start of the basketball season. She was on the court for the season opener, but it is no comparison to the Carol Russell's, of the University of Nebraska Kearney, return to the court five hours after delivery.

"I can't imagine that because I was so tired, after those hours," Coach Tillis-Jones said. "But I had 16 hours of labor. She is the woman!"

However, "Coach T" has found a balance between playing mom and playing ball. In her office, there are trophies and a baby crib, basketball statistics and a bouncer.

While the coach is watching lay-ups, Senoj is somewhere along the sides lounging out.

"(Senoj) watches the game," she said. "She knows where the ball is at all times."

Just like the ball, everywhere mommy goes, baby goes too.

"She rides the bus, she's on every trip, she's at every ball game unless the weather is just bad."

"Coach T" has always been a fan and player favorite, but has motherhood changed her at all?

"Last year we couldn't persuade her to do a lot of things," said guard Jamia Malone, "but this year we can get her do a lot of things."



so," Coach T replied.

With basketball in her blood and hours of exposure to the game, it is no surprise what the Jones hope little Senoj will grow up to be.

"We're hoping she's going to be a 6'2 wing player. That's what we're hoping."

Coach T, Senoj and the Apache ladies will be in Salina, Kansas to take on Chipola in the NJCAA tournament. The game is set for Tuesday, March 20, at noon.