Sports

OC searching for new women’s basketball coach

The Olympic College women’s basketball team will have a new head coach when the 2009-10 season tips off in November.

A search has begun to replace Paul Felker, who resigned July 27 after two seasons, and the school hopes to make a hire sooner rather than later.

“We’ve got to move on this really quick,” said athletic director Barry Janusch. “We’ve had a few inquiries, but we’ll see what happens in the next couple weeks.”

Felker’s resignation comes in the wake of a 2008-09 campaign in which the Lady Rangers finished 6-18, losing their final seven games to finish second-to-last in the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges North Division. The team was a combined 14-36 during Felker’s two seasons.

A 1996 Enumclaw High School grad, Felker was recruited by Janusch and was a two-year starter for OC’s mens basketball team. Felker then transferred to Central Washington University, where he graduated in 2001 after leading the basketball team to two NCAA Division II tournament berths.

He had been an assistant coach for the men’s team for four seasons prior to accepting the head women’s coaching position. Janusch said Felker, who was unavailable for comment, resigned for personal reasons.

The new coach will inherit an experienced lineup because last year’s squad — 11 players — was comprised entirely of freshmen, including locals Megan Morris (King’s West) and Jadie Fauna (Olympic High School). Leading scorer Jodi Mitchell, who averaged 16.8 points per game, is set to return along with Shayvonne Barrett, who was second on the team in both points (13.3) and assists (3.2) per game.

Janusch said the search for a coach began at the local level, but will expand along the “West Coast” if a hire isn’t made soon.

The NWAAC regular season is just three months out and the recruiting process is well underway, meaning would-be players are weighing their college options.

“It would be ideal to have someone who has experience recruiting,” Janusch said.

The recruiting period is a pivotal time because it gives coaches an opportunity to develop relationships with incoming players, many of whom make their college choice based on the coach. A recruit could de-commit from a school due to a coaching change, although that has yet to happen since Felker’s resignation and Janusch doesn’t believe it will.

“I doubt very seriously we’d lose an athlete because of that,” Janusch said. “But you never know for sure if they are going to come with a new coach.”

Leslie Weaver coached the women’s team in 2006-07, leading it to a 5-21 season before being replaced by Felker.

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