New head coaches appointed at PHS

Three new coaches haven been appointed at Palestine High School: David Reed, softball; Nicole Anderson, basketball; and, Melissa Firmin, tennis.

Athletic Director Lance Angel has welcomed three new head coaches on board at Palestine High School: David Reed, Nicole Anderson, and Melissa Firmin.

David Reed

David Reed replaces Regis Anders as Head Softball Coach at Palestine.

If the name sounds familiar, it is because Reed has previously been on the coaching staff at Westwood for 20 years. He served a brief stint in Athens in 2018 before returning to his Palestine roots and joining the Wildcats.

David Reed is, in fact, a 1980 graduate of Westwood High, where he was a multi-sport athlete. After high school he served six years in the Marines and worked in the business world before turning to education. He graduated from Stephen F. Austin Uinversity in his 30s, with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and a minor in special education. And education — here in Palestine — is where he plans to stay.

“I hope to bring stability to the (softball) program. I’m from the area and I’m here for the long haul. I want to get the program where I’d like to see it go and stay until I retire,” Reed says.

Coach Reed says his emphasis will be on pitching and defense. With an eye toward the future, Coach Reed also intends to start a Palestine softball club, with 12-U and 14-U teams.

Reed and his wife Darla have been married 38 years and are raising two grandchildren.

Nicole Anderson

Nicole Anderson brings a wealth of expertise to her new role as Palestine High School’s Head Girls Basketball Coach – both as a player and a coach.

As a player, Anderson was an All-State point guard for her high school in La Jolla, California. She went on to play at UCLA and in 1997 became one of the pioneers for women’s professional basketball as a WNBA player for the Los Angeles Sparks.

An impressive coaching resume includes 26 years experience. After coaching in high schools in San Diego for six years, Anderson spent fourteen years coaching at the college level, at San Diego State, University of San Diego, Long Beach State, the University of New Haven at Connecticut and, finally, at Texas A&M Commerce. When she tired of recruiting and being on the road so much, Anderson made the move back to high school coaching. Recently, in two years at Cooper High School, her Lady Bulldogs were runners-up for the District title. She comes to PHS from a stint at Frankston, where she took the Maidens from a losing record to making the playoffs.

“I have the ability to not only motivate but inspire young girls to achieve high levels of athletic as well as academic success, by learning to value themselves as young women,” stated Anderson. “A huge part of what I do on the basketball court really reflects Life. If you can find out who you are and believe in your abilities, that takes you farther in sports and Life toward being the best you can be.”

Coach Anderson definitely practices what she preaches. After earning her degree from UCLA, Anderson added a masters degree in business administration from the University of Phoenix and is only lacking completion of her dissertation to finish her doctorate.

At 47, Nicole Anderson proudly wears a new title – Mom – with the birth of her first child, 8-month-old son Jimmy Ray. He’s a factor in her decision to come to PHS. The commute to Frankston took a lot of time away from her family, since Nicole and her husband Jimmy (a driver for Walmart) make their home in Palestine. Anderson notes that she is now, happily, only going to be minutes away from the gym.

Anderson adds that proximity is not the only reason the position at Palestine feels like a good fit. She was encouraged to consider the opportunity by Jozette Jenkins, who has taken an administrative position in Mexia. "I am really excited about the opportunity to work with these kids,” Anderson said. “I am absolutely thrilled to work with Coach Angel. I have found him to be a man with great character and integrity who values having good people around him.”

Melissa Firmin

After six years with PISD, where she has been an assistant coach in girls soccer and volleyball and recently in tennis, Melissa Firmin has moved up to her first head coaching position at Palestine High School. For 2019-20, Firmin takes the reins of the Wildcat tennis team, replacing Scott Tyler, who has taken an administrative position in Lufkin. Firmin will also continue teaching in the special ed department.

Firmin is looking forward to her new role, stating, "I've enjoying coaching tennis as Coach Tyler's assistant, and learned a lot. We have some returning players ready to step up and lead the team, and some fresh faces who we are excited about."

Hoping to boost interest, Coach Firmin has made the PHS tennis courts available for open play Tuesday and Thursday evenings 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. this summer.

Although she is not new to the district, here is a little background on Coach Firmin. At high school in Shreveport's Loyola College Prep, Melissa Firmin played softball and soccer. She then went to Stephen F Austin, where she had a soccer scholarship, and she also made the softball team as a walk-on.

Since earning her degree, Firmin's coaching career has included: Martinsville ISD; Center ISD, where she was head cross country and soccer coach and assisted in softball; Trinity Valley Community College, as assistant softball coach; and Crockett ISD as head softball and assistant volleyball coach.

Coach Firmin and her wife, Palestine City Councilmember Dana Goolsby, have one son, Gage Concilio. Gage will be a junior at PHS and his mom is looking forward to coaching him on the tennis team.