Hemphill, 51, recently logged his 400th win when the Refugio Lady Cats defeated the Robstown Lady Pickers on Tuesday, Nov. 20.
Hemphill said he didn’t start out coaching in pursuit of accumulating victories for himself.
“I figure I have a while longer to do this,” he said.
“I’ve been fortunate that the kids who I’ve had, play really hard.”
And that is Hemphill’s strategy.
“That’s kind of my staple. I just want them to play really, really hard,” he said. “We’re a defensive team.”
No surprise that Hemphill played basketball when he was attending Incarnate Word Academy in Corpus Christi, where he graduated in 1980.
“I was more of a baseball player than a basketball player,” he said.
“We won state in 1980 basketball,” he added.
Hempbill played guard as a freshman, then post the rest of his high school years.
He attended Texas A&I University and graduated in 1986. Shortly after, he began coaching basketball.
His first team was at Benavides, where he coached for seven years.
Following that, he coached at Incarnate Word Academy for six years, Bastrop for three years and Quinland Ford for seven years, before coming to Refugio.
At Incarnate Word, his teams made it to state four times. His other two years there, his teams made it to regional competition.
Hemphill emphasized that the Lady Cats play defense first.
“We build off of that,” he said. “With defense, you stop the score.”
“Sometimes, the other team is better than you. Then you gotta play hard and do the best you can do,” he added.
As of Monday, Nov. 25, the Lady Cats were 4-1 for the season. The season is about a quarter through.
“The season usually ends the first week of February. It hopefully extends a little longer (playoffs),” Hemphill said.
The Lady Cats have a good attitude, determination to win and they continue to improve.
“They play really hard and they are really good students,” Hemphill said.