Danville hires Baker as girls' basketball coach

June 14, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

She didn't get the job the first time she tried, but Stephanie Baker is not complaining about the two-year wait she had to become the girls basketball coach at Danville.

Baker, a former University of Kentucky player, applied for the job two years ago when the Danville hired Justin Schommer. He led the Admirals to their winningest season ever (20-8) last season that included Danville's first All "A" Classic 12th Region championship, but recenlty resigned to take a position in North Dakota.

Now Baker has been picked to continue the building process Schommer started.

"I am so excited," she said. "I've always wanted to be a head coach. I know we will have a young team next year, but I watched them practice before I accepted the job and I saw a lot of excitement. They were a well disciplined team that looked hungry to keep winning."

Danville loses four of its top players off last season's team, but that doesn't worry Baker.


"We have some young players, but we also have some experienced players. These girls have now had a taste of winning," she said.

Baker, 31, played for UK from 1992-95. She started her college career at Sullivan College before transferring to Kentucky. .

"She's been around good basketball all her life," Danville athletics director Sam Harp said. "She played against great competition in the SEC. She played against some of the best players in the country.

"We are hoping she brings that same competitiveness with her that made her believe she could succeed at Kentucky. We think she has a lot to offer our program."

Baker, a Hazard native, was a volunteer coach at Georgetown College two years ago. Last season she was the freshman boys assistant coach at Scott County.

"I have a variety of coaching experience from middle school to college," Baker, a certified special education teacher, said. "I think I learned something different every time I have coached a team and that should help me."

Harp said the Admirals got numerous out-of-state applicants.

"We have people from Georgia, Arizona, Mississippi and Tennessee apply," Harp said.

Baker admits she knows little about Danville girls basketball.

"I know that Danville is a football town because of all the state championships the team has won," she said. "I'll be learning about the basketball program as I go, but I know this is the right move for me and that we can keep having a successful program."

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