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The Student News Site of Bishop Miege

Bishop Miege Press

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Turning The Page: Basketball programs embrace changes in coaching positions

Girls+basketball+head+coach+Mike+Allen+watches+warmups+before+the+game+against+Liberty+North+on+December+15.++Allen+previously+coached+at+Olathe+South%2C+where+he+reached+three+6A+substate+championships+in+six+years.
Addy Burris
Girls basketball head coach Mike Allen watches warmups before the game against Liberty North on December 15. Allen previously coached at Olathe South, where he reached three 6A substate championships in six years.

Terry English and Rick Zych each held the head coaching positions in the girls and boys programs, respectively, for decades. The pair brought home a combined 29 state championships.

But after English unexpectedly passed away at the beginning of last season and Zych made the decision to retire last March, change was on the horizon. A new era is upon both programs.

Mike Allen was the Sunflower Coach of the Year last season but has departed from his position at Olathe South in favor of the job at Miege. Allen wasted no time setting up summer workouts and open gyms, familiarizing himself with his team.

“Through workouts and open gyms and stuff, I’ve been able to get to know their personalities,” Allen said. “Just getting to know what the group is like, which is really important.”

The girls basketball team has won the last three state championships in a row. Expectations are high for a girls basketball team that returns several starters and is anchored by a veteran senior class. However, Allen doesn’t necessarily believe that playing in a state championship game is the most important day of a team’s season.

“I absolutely love practices, and planning for them,” Allen said. “Just knowing what we need to work on that day and executing it. I for sure love practices more than the games.”

Allen’s transition into the Miege community has been a smooth one. Allen is working in the building as a history teacher alongside his coaching job, giving him the chance to see his athletes in a classroom setting. He has quickly earned the support and trust of a team that has seen three coaches in three years.

“He’s very passionate and he takes the time to put extra effort into his coaching,” senior Carly Kurt said. “He fits in well with us and provides a ton of energy during practices. He’ll play music, and he’ll warm up with us to start practice strong.”

Jacob Derritt has been a high-level coach for a long time in the Kansas City area at both the high school and AAU levels. Most recently, he founded KIPP Academy and coached the team through the 2022 season. Derritt took the Miege job and has assimilated into the community quickly.

“I think the Miege community has been one that welcomed me with open arms,” Derritt said. “Mr. Schramp and the rest of the administrative team have been here answering any questions that I’ve had and making sure that I feel comfortable with the transition. Even the families in the community have also been great about reaching out and introducing themselves.”

Derritt, like Allen, has only had the summer and early season practices to craft a culture. Despite the time constraints, Derritt has brought more to the table than X’s and O’s, making an immediate impression on the team.

“He is more than just a coach in the sense of the game,” senior guard Dr Julius Lopez said. “He works to teach us outside of the court so that we can strive to be better people, not just better players.”

Miege lost all five members of its starting lineup last year and seven seniors in total. Derritt is as new to Miege varsity basketball as the majority of the team.

“I think everybody involved understands that it’s going to be a process,” Derritt said. “We will be coaching up along the way, and the players are embracing that piece of it too. You just try to remind folks of growth mentality and growth mindset. Every time out, we just want to try to get better.”

“He is more than just a coach in the sense of the game. He works to teach us outside of the court so that we can strive to be better people, not just better players.”

— Senior Dr Julius Lopez

The new era is just beginning, but there’s high expectations for both programs from the jump. Allen and Derritt have embraced their roles in not just their teams but as leaders in the Miege community.

“I’m only in coaching because someone did it for me,” Derritt said. “I’m in this business to develop character because that’s what other coaches instilled in me as a player. I think that has served me well as a citizen, just out there in the community, as well as in my career, and I think it’s my opportunity to pay it forward.”

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About the Contributors
Daniel Sullivan, Sports Editor
Addy Burris, Staff Writer

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