Times Sports Editor
Mark May 1 down in the calendars if you're a Clay County basketball fan.
On that day, Northview solidified the leaders of its respective basketball programs with the hiring of Ernie Maesch and LuAnne Anderson to lead the boys and girls' basketball teams.
Anderson has brief basketball head coaching experience after taking over the reigns at Clay City during the 2006-07 season when Keith Jones took a leave of absence following a heart attack.
She spent last year as the junior varsity coach for both the Northview volleyball and basketball teams so she's already familiar with many of the athletes. Anderson was for one is excited to accept the challenge and accomplish something she's always had her eye on.
"It's always been a goal of mine to be a head coach," said the Rockville High School graduate. "I've gotten to know the girls and I really respect them. I'd like to work with the girls and we want to get them to learn to win and work hard."
Anderson steps in following a one-year stint by former Sullivan head man, Chad Smith, who resigned and has focused his efforts on the track and cross country teams.
Anderson, the former LuAnne Schelsky, graduated in 1994 from Rockville where she played both basketball and softball. She'll be charged with improving a program that went 7-13 last season and lost to Plainfield in the sectional.
The task may seem to be a tall one, but Anderson has already set goals for not only the high school teams, but also contributing to the county's youth as well.
"Initially I want to get the players in and build their confidence, get in the weight room and create a team atmosphere," said Anderson of her early goals. "I'd like to play scrimmage games in the summer and hopefully get to a team camp."
She also has plans to work on building the program from the foundation up, beginning with bridging the gap between her varsity players and the area's youth.
"I'd like to start working with the girls in kindergarten through fifth grade and get some of our girls to coach them and the girls to get to know them," said Anderson. "We'd like to see the North Clay girls at our games too."
Though her goals are set high for the team, Anderson knows the rigors of conference play in the WIC and a Class 4A Sectional.
"I've got head coaching experience. The biggest obstacle is the level of competition," she said of the jump from junior varsity to varsity coaching. "Our sectional is very competitive. I think the important thing is getting the girls back used to putting time in to be successful."
Anderson has had a chance to meet with many of her high school players for next season and through open gym sessions has worked with incoming freshman as well. The open gyms have, according to Anderson, been successful and helped smooth the transition between coaches.
"I think I've been well received by the girls and I think they are looking forward to the season," said Anderson. I think they know that I want what is best for them and I think they have confidence in the staff."
With IHSAA rules allowing teams to play in summer leagues, Anderson feels her team will grow during the offseason in preparation for next winter.
"We're sort of competing against spring sports (for players)," commented Anderson. "But I think in the month of June our numbers will go up and we've got a lot of things planned."
One of the most exciting prospects is getting to learn from a Hall of Fame coach in a camp that the Knights will travel to during the summer.
"We're planning to attend the University of Tennessee team camp," said Anderson. "We have 24 girls signed up to attend the camp right now.
The camp, conducted on the University of Tennessee campus in Knoxville is headed by Pat Summitt, coach of seven NCAA Championships. Northview athletes will get to compete against some of the top competitors in the country while learning the finer points of the game from a staff or more than 250 coaches, counselors and officials.
The Knights will then play a summer schedule that includes 20-plus games in the Wabash Valley League in Terre Haute before taking the month of July off so athletes can work with their Fall sports coaches or take some time away for vacation.
Anderson believes that her teams are preparing for a successful return to the court this season and that the offseason is the first step toward that fresh start.
"I think these girls are hungry and are ready to win," said Anderson. "We're just giving the girls the tools to win."
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