Archive for Tuesday, August 26, 2008

New coach hopes to bring fervor to Cougar basketball

August 26, 2008

If Brian McIntosh has his way, there will be a bevy of enthusiastic Lady Cougar basketball players bellowing their raucous way to the state tournament in five years.

Enthusiasm is what McIntosh, Shawnee Mission Northwest's new girls basketball coach, hopes to bring to the Cougar program in bunches, but he knows if the Lady Cougars are going to build a program worth shouting about again, they are going to have to start at the earliest of stages.

"The school needs to reach out to the area youth and get them interested in girls basketball again," McIntosh said. "In five years I want us to be building a program and having our youth heavily involved. I see us competing well at the state level. In five years I think that's definitely achievable for us."

McIntosh takes over for John Reiff who retired after the 2007-08 season. Reiff coached several highly successful teams for the Cougars, but, after the loss of four senior starters and two key senior reserves after the 2004-05 season, the Northwest girls program struggled to find a rhythm in the Sunflower League and saw teams with more-experienced players pass them to the league's upper echelon.

McIntosh coached the boys varsity team in Madison, Kan., for four years, the sophomore boys team at Shawnee Mission South for two, and assisted Gardner-Edgerton girls coach Scott Shaeffer. He recognized Reiff's success and hoped to reinstall the pride from his predecessor's glory years.

"They've had some success," McIntosh said of past Cougar teams, "quite a bit in the past 15-20 years. They've recently had some tough years and one thing that attracted me was that I wanted to be able to step into a program that needed a lot of energy and enthusiasm."

McIntosh hasn't wasted any time trying to instill his style of coaching and play into the Cougars' routine. He captained his first girls basketball camp this summer and oversaw his players at they competed in summer league play.

"We've had a great summer," McIntosh said. "They showed nice improvement with their work ethic, attitude, and their willingness to get better."

McIntosh hopes that his enthusiasm for the game will translate to a faster style of play for the Cougars, with a lot of opportunities to create turnovers on defense and push the ball down the floor on offense. Still, the Cougars' new coach knows that much of how his team plays will depend on the athletes available.

"I like to play an up-tempo offense," he said, "and if we have players that fit that mold, we will. I like pressure on defense. On offense I like teaching kids how to play - not repeating the same set patterns but to be able to read defenses and to move well without the ball."

McIntosh cites all of the eight or nine coaches he's played or coached under as heavy influences, including his father - a 20-year coaching veteran. McIntosh also remarked on the recent distinct influence of Shaeffer, a multiple state title winner while he was at McPherson and beginning his fourth year at Gardner-Edgerton.

"More recently coach Shaeffer has had a big impact," McIntosh said. "He really taught me about what it means to work hard. I thought I was a hard worker until I was around him for a couple of years."

Now, McIntosh plans to apply that same work ethic to his time at the Cougar helm. He hopes that his hours - and his enthusiasm for the game - will be contagious.

"As a coach, I feel I'm very energetic and passionate about coaching," he said. "I hope that rubs off on my players."

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