With nearly 30 years teaching and successfully coaching basketball, one of the Mississippi Gulf Coast’s best Greta Ainsworth will retire at the end of the 2022-23 school year.
During 14 years at Pass Christian High School as the girls’ basketball coach, the team has made it to the sweet 16 a whopping 12 times, won six district championships, been in the elite 8 three times, and earned a berth in the state tournament twice.
“I will greatly miss the players, students, faculty, and staff I encountered during my tenure at Pass Christian High School,” expressed Ainsworth about her experience with the Pirates. “I will forever be grateful for my time at Pass High.”
Ainsworth’s oldest daughter, Breanna Ainsworth Halley, has received a tough message: a recipient of metastatic breast cancer for the fourth time. Breanna was first diagnosed in May 2016 as the head girls’ basketball coach for the Our Lady Academy Crescents where she was for two seasons.
After the 2017 season was over, she was able to join her mother’s coaching staff at PCHS for the last six years, teaching and being an assistant. Currently, Halley’s husband Zach is the assistant football coach at Bay High and was the former Pass High track & field head coach.
“Coach Greta is not only a great coach; she is an equally amazing teacher! Much like when coaching, she teaches from the moment her children walk in the door until the moment they leave. The level of engagement she demands can be seen both in the classroom and on the court. Coach has a special way of connecting with her students and athletes that is difficult to duplicate. To say that her presence will be missed is an understatement,” said Pass Christian Superintendent Dr. Carla Evers on Ainsworth’s retirement. “For many, when they think of her, they see a reflection of all that we are and expect – excellence. Her record speaks for itself; her teams repeatedly go deep into the playoffs having played in the top 4 two times in the last three years. We cannot thank Coach Ainsworth enough as she has set the bar high. She has insisted that we start the search immediately to give us the best opportunity to find a suitable replacement. We invite those who are ready to excel to enter into the talent pool by completing an application.”
Unfortunately, she has not been able to come back teaching for the school year since the cancer recurred at the end of July 2022. Halley has been receiving chemo the whole school year since it has spread to her lung, liver and stomach. According to Ainsworth, Halley’s scans have shown great improvement in December, but has continued the treatment to keep the cancer at bay.
Cancer runs in the Ainsworth family as she lost her mother to breast cancer and her father endured the disease from the prostate, only to pass from liver and stomach cancer.
Ainsworth began her coaching career at Hancock High School where she was an alumnus and coached for fourteen years. Her overall record as the Lady Pirates Head Basketball Coach is 281 wins and 144 losses.
“The faculty, staff, and school district have done so much for Breanna and me during her battle with cancer that I can’t even begin to repay,” said Ainsworth, who had a majority of the success during the time Halley was assistant. “We would not have made it through these tough times without their support.”
The legacy Ainsworth and Halley leave the Pass Christian High School and the Mississippi Gulf Coast girls basketball programs will be lasting but wish the best result during their time to work on building health and wellness.