It’s the dawn of a new era for Lady Tiger basketball. When on-campus workouts were allowed to start June 8, the Fayette County High girls basketball team was under new leadership for the first time in 15 years. 

Tykira Gilbert was officially introduced to the Tiger players, parents, and supporters in a June 3 online town hall. 

“I am very excited to join the Fayette County Tiger family,” said Gilbert, who joins her husband, Mario, who was already a football coach and teacher at FCHS. Their two daughters will begin attending Spring Hill Elementary in the fall. 

Gilbert has big shoes to fill from the legendary John Strickland, who passed Dec. 29, 2019 after a battle with cancer, but she is a budding legend in her own right. In just five seasons at Spalding High, she led the Jaguars to a sterling 114-34 record with a state championship in 2018 and a runner-up finish in 2019. 

Gilbert has no intentions of letting the winning tradition on Tiger Trail slip.

“I want to continue that elite status,” she said. “Everybody that has played against me knows that my team is going to play defense every quarter. We’re going to be known for playing defense, playing hard, and having heart and grit.”

She vows to not just win games, but help her players grow as people.

“My vision is to excel in the classroom and on the court, and you do that by hard work and dedication and commitment to the program,” said Gilbert. “That’s everybody. Parents, players, and the community, we need to have everybody all in.”

FCHS athletic director Bill Stikes is confident Gilbert is the right choice to fulfill the school’s motto: Excellence in all we do.

“Coach is an an outstanding leader, and she is an outstanding coach, and we are very excited for her to join the Fayette County High School family,” said Stikes. “We’re excited to see how the program grows and continues to excel. We know Coach will continue that success in the future.”