When Angela Davidson Weathers huddles her Dallas Skyline team for the first time and sees nothing but men’s faces staring back, it won’t be an unfamiliar feeling.
The former Northwestern State basketball star accepted the head coach/general manager position with the Skyline, becoming the first female head coach in The Basketball League.
Before an NSU career in which she was named Southland Conference Player of the Year and picked to the league’s 2000s All-Decade Team, the Leesville native was usually the only female on the court at Fort Polk in a sea of boys.
“(Playing with the boys) was in my blood growing up playing on Fort Polk,” Davidson Weathers said. “Even at NSU, I’d stay after practice and train with the guys, asking them if I could participate in their drills.
“There’s a lot going on in the world, and in the sports world for women, and I’m honored and humbled to be a part of this great movement of women in the men’s game. It’s been a long time coming, and for me, it’s humbling. It adds more intentionality to this move because I can be a voice for women in sports while also helping these young men navigate through the thought process and professionalism that is needed to go on to their desired levels.”
Davidson Weathers is building a roster of former collegiate players that dream of playing professionally overseas or in the NBA.
The Skyline’s season is expected to start in late February or March depending on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have a lot planned with themed games and an opportunity for families, teams and organizations to brand with us and share what they are doing in the community,” said Davidson Weathers, whose team will be playing its games near the border of Dallas and Collin counties. “We want to provide a family environment that’s safe.”
Davidson Weathers’ journey started as a touted recruit who started her college career at Ole Miss before returning to her home state in the welcoming arms of legendary NSU coach James Smith.
But her involvement in youth sports is largely responsible for her path to the Skyline in the TBL, a 24-team league that spans across the country.
After a two-year professional career, including becoming the first black female to play in the Trocal League (encompasses four Southern European countries, including her team in Macedonia), Davidson Weathers helped start a non-profit that morphed into Train Up A Champion.
The organization began as individual skill development that expanded into 10 youth basketball teams that compete regionally and nationally in basketball showcases. The organization ventured into player representation and non-sports avenues such as different education and community initiatives.
One of her former youth players, Preston Mack, bought the Dallas Skyline and asked her to be the head coach.
“The team’s season had been shut down early in the pandemic, and he shot me a text that he was looking for a coach,” said Davidson Weathers, who was also the director of player development for the Mark Cuban Heroes Basketball Academy. “It was an intentional move on my end because of what I had been doing and having an impact on women breaking into the sport.”
While Davidson Weathers said she prefers the men’s game, she’s kept the pipeline to NSU women’s basketball open.
Her youth programs produced recent Lady Demons like Nautica Grant and Jocelyn Scott.
Even though Davidson Weathers jumped the border to play for Ole Miss in college, she grew up watching games in Prather Coliseum with her mother.
“My mom was an NSU alum, and we watched a lot of games when I was in middle school,” she said. “Coach Smith was clearly a great coach, winning 20-plus games and routinely signing the Louisiana Player of the Year.
“Transferring back home to NSU was a no-brainer, and Smith embraced me as a young mother. I was a big deal coming to the Southland Conference from the SEC, but Smith got the best of me and got the best out of me when I was here.”
The Lady Demons topped the 20-win mark twice in Davidson Weathers’ three seasons as she earned all-conference and All-Louisiana honors in all three campaigns.
As a junior, Davidson Weathers captured the SLC Player of the Year honor in 2001-02 with more than 16 points per game that season as NSU finished second in the league and advanced to the SLC Tournament finals.
Davidson Weathers and teammate Katrina Swanigan were on the receiving end of point guard LaTerrica “Cooda” Dobin’s passes, who led the NCAA in assists for three straight seasons.
“I wanted to be part of that winning culture, we had some great games and moments,” recalls Davidson Weathers, who finished her three-year career as the eighth-leading scorer in program history. “Who would have thought that a transfer from Ole Miss would go this far, and I appreciate all NSU stands for.
“Athletics director Greg Burke has been very relational, and Coach Anna Nimz and the current staff want to continue to recruit this area. Anything I do, I want it to benefit others. That’s the servant leadership model I learned and want to share with others.”
Mug Shot: Submitted Photo