By Ronn Rowland
Phoenix Sports Writer
When Checotah athletic director Brian Terry began his search for a new girls basketball coach, he wanted someone who was going to stay awhile.
Enter Kim Lewis, an Eastern Oklahoma native, who was approved last week to take over the Lady Wildcats’ program.
“I know it’s kind of been tough on them with the coaching turnover, especially for the girls,” Lewis said. “It’s hard counting on somebody and they’re gone. I’m hoping to give some stability to Checotah. This is were I’m from and this is where I want to be, so I’m going to give it the very best I have.
“And I’m more familiar with 4A basketball. That was kind of my goal to get back to 4A basketball.”
Not only was Terry looking for someone dedicated to remaining, he was looking for a person who had a good coaching background. Lewis is the daughter of Eddie Lewis, longtime boys coach at Roland High School.
“Her dad as a mentor was a big push,” Terry said. “She’s a good solid person and I think she’s going to do a good job.”
Lewis, who spent her first four years in coaching as an assistant boys coach under her father, comes to Checotah after one season as the head coach at Vanoss where she finished with a 6-17 record. She is quick to point out that the record is deceiving.
“A lot of teams that we played were actually teams that were in the area finals, if not going to the state tournament,” she said. “It was doing what we can and see where we needed to be.”
Being a coach’s kid, Lewis has absorbed some of her father’s ideals on and off the court. She plans to institute the same things her dad uses into the Lady Wildcats.
“The main thing I learned from him is character,” she said. “I also like his philosophy of run and gun, fly around the floor. Those are things that I like and took from him after coaching with him for four years.”
Lewis has already hit the ground running to get the Lady Wildcats ready for the upcoming season.
“Right now we are having open gym,” she said. “The girls are coming in and we’re trying to get to know each other. Also we’re trying to get them excited.”
And Lewis can’t wait to get her players into the new gym at Checotah High School. The building is set to open for business this fall.
“Oh man, that thing is beautiful,” she said. “I can’t wait to fill those seats up. It makes the whole town, the whole community and even myself so ecstatic.”