2022 All-Area Girl Basketball Coach of the Year: Mahomet-Seymour’s Garret Risley | Sport

Why he is the coach of the year:

  • The Bulldogs made history in Risley’s second season. MS posted a record of 30-5, accounting for its most wins in a season and including the program’s first section championship ever. A lineup run by seniors Cayla Koerner, Ivie Juarez and Nichole Taylor and juniors Savannah Orgeron, Durbin Thomas and Abigail Bunting gave MS a race to remember.

What made him train is …

  • When I was growing up, my dad was a coach, and many of his friends and colleagues were coaches. So I grew up around them and had nothing but respect for them all. So, when I finished high school, (MS principal) Chad Benedict asked me if I was interested in coming back and helping with the program. So I said yes, and when I first got started I was hooked.

His hardest thing to learn about coaching is …

  • just trying to find balance in many ways. In season, finding the balance for the girls. You will always be as prepared as you can be for any match, but you also want them to be fresh and have a break away from basketball and balancing activities off the court. You want to develop a bond with the girls and do fun things like dinners, but at the same time want to give them space away from you so they do not get tired of being with each other. Then find personal balance. When everything is done online, you can stream as many game movies as you want. So find the boundary where you sometimes have to be at basketball and sometimes be at home with your family.

The biggest advice he will give a new basketball coach is …

  • to be yourself. I think it’s easy, especially as a young coach, to see a lot of the coaches who have been there, done that and want to emulate them. But from my personal experience, the girls know when you want to be fake. As long as you are the best version of yourself, it will be best suited for your team and for you.

His favorite moment from this season was …

  • The Prairie Central Turkey Tournament we started out with, and that’s because we knew we had the potential to be special into the season. Then we won it and I think it was a good catalyst for everything else to follow. Everyone was bought in, excited right after that tournament. They did a great job and I think it gave a lot of the success of our later season. Second was the episode title, for that was what it was for our program and the story behind it.

His most challenging moment from this season was …

  • only the duration of the season. Last year we had 16 games and it was very shortened. So the biggest challenge this year was just the length of the season in general. The beginning is exciting because it is new. The ending is exciting because you limit all the things you have worked for. But there’s a kind of break in the middle where you’re still trying to produce energy, so that was the biggest challenge for everyone this year.

The athlete on this season’s team he should train the least is …

  • Durbin Thomas, our point guard. This year was the second year we have been together and many times she knows what I want to shout before I even call it out. She’s just the one leading the way for us.

The athlete on this season’s team who he feels is the greatest clown in the class is …

  • Savannah Orgeron. In a long season, you need people who will keep it light. Otherwise it will be a really long season. She wants to do things like change my music on training or make an impression of myself for the girls. She does a good job of keeping it loose, but at the same time she can change a switch when she needs to.

The athlete on this season’s team who he feels is most outgoing is …

  • Anna Lagacy. We have the Hype Award for the person who brings the most energy, and we might as well have renamed it the Anna Lagacy Award. She is someone who is very personal. It’s just who she is. When you see her, she will make sure to be polite and say hello to you. She hangs out in many different crowds with friends. She just treats everyone the same and people go to her.

The athlete on this season’s team who he feels is most reserved, but who will say no when needed, is …

  • Durbin Thomas. She is reserved, just very businesslike, but at the same time she is very competitive. So if she felt she needed to say something to help us win, she was about to do the same.

The athletes on this season’s team he would like to serve as acting coaches, if necessary, are …

  • Cayla and Ivie, just because they’re competitive in everything they do, and that’s what I want the girls to get from our athletes.

Colin Likas is the Coordinating Coordinator of The News-Gazette. He can be reached at clikas@news-gazette.com or on Twitter at @clikasNG.

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