Stephanie Mickley has coached basketball in some capacity for more than two decades.
She always wanted to be a varsity head coach, and when the St. Bede girls job opened, she felt it was the right opportunity.
“My goal was to someday become a varsity coach,” Mickley said. “I went to a small high school. I like the small high school atmosphere, so I applied at St. Bede.”
St. Bede announced Mickley’s hiring Thursday.
“I’m very honored they chose me to help these girls transition into the season under new leadership,” Mickley said. “I’m excited to help them in any way I can to be success on the court, off the court and in life.”
Mickley was hired to replace Tom Ptak, who filled the job in an interim role last season after the dismissal of longtime coach Tom McGunnigal just before the season.
“We are excited to add Stephanie to the St. Bede family,” St. Bede athletic director Nick McLaughlin said in a news release. “We believe that she will bring a positive attitude and build strong relationships with our student-athletes and our families.”
Mickley was an all-state player at Kaneland before going on to play at Rosary College (now Dominican University), an NAIA Division I school.
She began her coaching career in Kaneville.
Mickley coached in the Orion district, beginning with seventh and eighth grades and working her way up to varsity assistant.
She later was an assistant at La Salle-Peru, serving as the head sophomore coach for three years.
Mickley also has coached at Dimmick Grade School and with the Illinois Valley Warriors travel organization.
“I like to transition the ball well at a fast pace if possible,” Mickley said. “I know we have some size, so I want to utilize that size on the floor and be efficient. I want to utilize all the players on the team. Each player will have their role. We’ll try to bring out the best in them so we can win together. I pride myself on defense, a high-pressure defense to create turnovers, which in turn will help the offense.”
Mickley takes over a team that went 14-17 last season and 9-2 in the Three Rivers Conference East Division.
The Bruins won 434 games and eight regional titles in 23 seasons under McGunnigal.
“My goals are to get all the levels involved with the same philosophies,” Mickley said. “We want to develop good work ethic, have them believe in themselves and realize that hard work will pay off. We want to have a uniform thought process of what our offense and defense are going to look like so it’s easier to teach as they go through the levels. The coaches will work together to create a winning program. I also want to teach them it’s not just about basketball, it’s about life lessons, so they can carry on what they learn in basketball once they graduate and move on in life.
“I’m very excited to meet the team. I’m very excited to work with the coaching staff and administration at St. Bede. I look forward to this summer and the upcoming season.”