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College coach gained perspective from Sweetwater gig

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Rusty Rainbolt returned to the Big Country over the weekend and came away with two wins as his East Texas Baptist women's basketball team defeated both Hardin-Simmons and McMurry.

In his first year at ETBU, Rainbolt has already orchestrated a tremendous turnaround leading a 3-22 from a season ago to an 11-1 record this year.

This time last year the Sweetwater-native was coaching the girls' team in his hometown after several years coaching at the collegiate level, including stops as an assistant at HSU and McMurry.

Rainbolt feels moving to the high school level for two years made him a better man.

"It really helped me get life in perspective. I got to home a lot more and be with my wife and my family, and that was good, too. I saw I could be a good dad, a good husband and still be a pretty decent coach, too."

Rainbolt coached the Lady Mustangs from 2015-2017, and helped Sweetwater make the area round of the playoffs last season.

One of his players, Bailey Lindsey, followed Rainbolt from Sweetwater to Marshall, Texas, and has found playing time with ETBU.

Rainbolt attributes his quick success with the Lady Tigers to focusing on basketball less, and focusing on relationships and coming closer in the Lord together.

He said he has done less basketball work than he's ever done his career, but has allowed his team to bond more together.

"Make an impact, which I'd always wanted to happen, but I didn't do it very well through my time in college," said Rainbolt.

"Stepping back away from the college game really helped me with that and I was very thankful for those beautiful young women at Sweetwater that I got to coach."

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