ENID, Okla. —
Katie Snodgrass Mahoney didn’t think she would be doing any coaching for the 2013-14 season after her husband, Ryan, left his job as an assistant basketball coach at Northern Oklahoma College Enid for a similar position at Allen Community College in Iola, Kan.
But fate was on the side of Mahoney, who had been a women’s assistant basketball coach at NOC Enid the past two seasons.
Mahoney this week was hired as Allen’s head women’s coach after the job became open.
“It feels pretty crazy,’’ Mahoney said. “It’s pretty awesome I guess. It’s crazy how things work out. It’s a huge blessing for us. God’s plan always works out better than our timing.’’
The Red Devils, 14-17 a year ago, are members of the highly-regarded Jayhawk Conference.
“It’s a great first head coaching job,’’ she said. “The conference is really good and the community support is great.’’
The greatest part, though, is being at the same school as her husband. The two met while coaching at NOC Enid.
“We didn’t anticipate that would happen again,’’ Mahoney said. “We’re lucky to coach at the same school, especially the first place we went to (after NOC Enid). We will be able to see each other and help each other because we know each other’s players, that’s really nice.’’
The family that coaches together stays together. Mahoney, after the women’s games, would do the men’s books for the Jets. They would go on recruiting and scouting trips together.
“We were able to bounce ideas off each other and give each other feedback,’’ Mahoney said. “We knew exactly what the other was going through. Having someone at home that can answer your questions is a good thing.’’
The only bad thing was “if we lost on the same night.’’
“If we both won, it was definitely a happy home,’’ Mahoney said.
Mahoney is the second of Jets head coach Scott Morris’ assistants to get a head coaching job. Josiah White recently took the reins at St. Gregory’s University.
“I was able to learn a lot from coach Morris,’’ she said. “I was given a lot of responsibility and he gave me chances to give my input. He gave me a bigger part than most assistant coaches get to have.’’
Morris said Mahoney “was absolutely ready’’ to become a head coach.
“She’ll do a great job,’’ he said.
“You don’t know if you’re ready to become a head coach until you’re thrusted into the position,’’ Mahoney said. “With all my playing and coaching experience, I’m confident I can do the job.’’
Mahoney has the credentials.
She was the Enid News & Eagle’s Northwest Oklahoma Player of the year while at Cimarron High School in 2001.
She was a two-time All-American at Southern Nazarene, where Mahoney led her team to national titles in 2003 and 2004 and a runner-up spot in 2002. She was an academic All-American as well.
Mahoney played professionally for Jonstrup basketball club in Denmark in 2007-08, the Osnabrueck (Germany) Panthers from 2008-10, where she led the league in scoring in 2010 and led her team to a regular-season championship; New Basket Oberhausen (Germany), 2010 and Hafnarfjordur (Iceland) in 2011.
The Lady Jets won two regular season Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference championships during her tenure.
“I’ve been there and done that,’’ Mahoney said. “I know what it takes to be successful. Playing overseas, I understand what it takes to play at a high level on a consistent basis. I hope the players would look to me for advice and maybe listen to me a little more because of my background.’’
She is excited to be the woman in charge, but admits “it’s a little nerve-wracking.’’
“I’ve never been in this position before,’’ Mahoney said. “It’s a learning experience. You learn as you go.’’
She is doing a little recruiting and some paperwork in anticipation of school starting next week. Her players begin moving in this weekend.
“I’m still finding out who’s on the team, what they are capable of and what kind of talent we have,’’ she said.
If possible, Mahoney hopes to do some recruiting in Oklahoma.
“I learned quite a bit of that (recruiting) from Joshua and coach Morris,’’ she said.
Mahoney knows one adjustment is a different relationship with the players being the head coach than an assistant.
“Being the only female assistant, I had a pretty close relationship with the players,’’ she said. “I was able to relate to them. I still want to be close to them as the head coach, but you have to be much more of a disciplinarian. As an assistant, you can be more of a friendly-type person.’’
She hopes to be a role model for the players as the head coach.
“One of the reasons why I wanted to coach was that I felt I had a lot to give back to the girls,’’ Mahoney said. “I feel like I can be a good role model and somebody they can look up to. They can see the possibilities are there to play pro basketball. You have to let them know what it takes to be successful and handle yourself properly.’’
She said a woman has a different relationship with her players than a male coach.
“You’re still trying to reach the team and do things correctly,’’ Mahoney said. “But I do have a better understanding about some of the stuff they are dealing with outside of basketball than a male would.’’
Campbell is a News & Eagle sports writer.