Old guard returns to town to coach at her alma mater

An old guard returned to coach at her alma mater, Pahrump Valley High School. Back when she was playing she was simply known as “Either Or”.

Brittany Wagner’s, (her maiden name was Orr), basketball journey started as a Trojans guard. She played for coach Bob Hopkins and Lance England during the championship years from 2004-2005 and earned an interesting nickname. She graduated in 2008.

“I have an interesting nickname from that time,” she said. “When I was playing for Hopkins during one game he yelled, ‘Brittany go in,’ but we had two Brittany’s and so we asked, ‘Which one,’ and he said, ‘Either or’ and so the name stuck. He still calls me that. It’s fine.”

Wagner is going on her second year as varsity assistant girls basketball and head freshman coach for Pahrump Valley High School. Wagner coached two years before that for Rosemary Clarke Middle School, where she worked with her former coach, Lance England.

Wagner was raised in Pahrump and really never left.

“I have been here for a while and went to Washington but then came back,” Wagner said. “I have stayed because all my family is here and I feel this is a great place to raise kids.”

Wagner learned all her coaching skills from Bob Hopkins.

“I learned a lot from Bob Hopkins and I want to coach like him,” she said. “People see him in the games and see him yelling, but in practice he’s not like that. He is calm in practice and does a lot of teaching. It is just a different atmosphere from practice to a game. A lot of people don’t see that.”

The coach says that kids need that intensity. She feels it’s part of basketball and part of winning.

“I have been playing sports since I was three and I have always had high-intensity coaches, and it never bothered me,” the coach said. “Hopkins would talk to me normally and he never would be mad at you or hold things against you. Once it was over, it was over. People feel like they want to run through walls for him, he is that good.”

Hopkins said he brought Wagner onto his coaching staff along with Sarah Coleman because the two of them were both players on the same team back when the team was one of the best in the state.

“Wagner played on one of the top teams in the state and she and Coleman both know what it takes to get there,” Hopkins said. “Wagner was one of the hardest working players I have ever coached. I think she has worked out well and she works well with the kids.”

He added with the addition of Coleman and Wagner, the program is going in the right direction.

Wagner feels the kids nowadays need to feel the energy from a coach.

“I try to have that same intensity as Hopkins,” Wagner said. “During a game I would get my players going, trying to get them to do what they needed to do.”

The coach said she will be here for the high school as long as Hopkins and England are coaching.

“I feel more comfortable with them,” she said. “I knew their coaching style. I learned a lot from them and felt more comfortable with them and that’s how I try to coach.”

Wagner works in real estate with her husband and is raising two kids.

Contact sports editor Vern Hee at vhee@pvtimes.com