For starters, John Testa began his first season with the Black Eagles, taking over for Gary Greene, who stepped down after last season. Greene led SC to the AAA state title game the previous two seasons before last year.
The Black Eagles lost six seniors to graduation, including Brittany Gordon, who is playing at Pitt.
"Deer in the headlights,'' said Testa of his first day on the sideline. "For me it was wonderful. This is what I love to do. We don't have a lot of experience. We have to have that determination and never-give-up attitude. There's a lot of raw talent.
"These kids understand the game [and] now it's getting them to play within the system. I want them to be the best individual within the team atmosphere. I think once these kids pick it up we'll be good to go. It's a whole new program and a whole new era. Just step in and be you.''
A new era also dawned at Charleston Catholic, where Paul Sutherland took over for Ashley Shepler, who stepped down this summer after eight seasons. Sutherland compiled a 159-43 record in eight seasons at Winfield, guiding the Generals to two Class AA state titles.
The Fighting Irish, who lost in last year's state quarterfinals, will need Sutherland's experience after Catherine Bandak, a 6-foot center who was the team's second-leading scorer last year as a freshman at 9.2 points, suffered a season-ending knee injury playing volleyball.
Schools may open the regular season Nov. 29 with the state tournament scheduled for March 7-10 at the Civic Center. Greenbrier East (AAA), Westside (AA) and St. Joseph (A) are the defending state champions.
Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at tatkin...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4811.