MOUNT VERNON — The players of the Mount Vernon girls’ basketball team are in for a new perspective this year, with Matt Haddy taking over the head coaching position.
Haddy has been coaching for more than 17 years, three of which he has spent at Mount Vernon. Haddy also is the varsity football defensive coordinator and, for the past two years, he has been the assistant boys’ basketball coach.
“I had the desire to be a head coach again,” Haddy said. “It was nice and refreshing to be Coach (Ed) Timm’s assistant for the past two years, and to learn from him. A big part of it was I know we’ve got really good kids here in this program, and it’s a program that has been successful and has an opportunity to continue being successful.”
Haddy already is very committed to this team, but he also wants to ensure they are just as motivated as the season begins.
“We talk about ownership and leadership with them quite a bit,” he said. “A big part of this is that this is their team, not my team or Coach (Ben) Knake’s team. They have to take ownership in getting better. I can’t force any of them to get better; they have to do it.
“When you give them responsibilities and make them feel like they’re invested in it, it makes them work just that much harder toward their overall goals.”
As Haddy meets with each of the girls during preseason, they talk about their goals individually and as a team. But he has a very simple goal heading into this season: “Getting better every day and be better than we were before.”
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“Everything we’re doing is new and different for them; it is a completely different style of play and system than what they’re used to, so it’s going to take time,” Haddy said. “That’ll be the big thing — them getting themselves acclimated to the way that we expect them to play.”
Senior Sydney Hauser and her teammates are feeling optimistic about this new style of play. It will challenge them to do their best every day.
“He is bringing a lot of new stuff to our program which will bring success to the program in future years,” Hauser said. “I’m excited to have him because I think we will be able to reach our full potential and hopefully have a very special season.”
Senior Catherine Yeoman is excited for the way the program is going to change this year.
“Coach Haddy will bring different perspectives to the game and different ways to play offense and defense,” Yeoman said.
Entering the season, Haddy has a plan that will hopefully lead the team to success: focusing on the defensive side of the ball.
“We’re going to strive to be really good defensively, and to not turn the ball over,” he said. “We’re going to play really hard, and we feel that if we do those things on a pretty consistent basis, that will give us a chance to be successful, regardless of the other circumstances.”
The girls’ basketball team starts its season Nov. 21 at home against Center Point-Urbana.