AHS taps former Crater standout to coach girls hoopsters

Former Crater High and Southern Oregon University standout guard Emily Brookins has been hired as Ashland High's next head varsity girls basketball coach, the school announced Friday.

Brookins, 22, who graduated from Crater in '06 and will receive her bachelor's degree from SOU next week, replaces Tom McCracken, who led the Grizzlies to consecutive fifth-place finishes at the Class 5A state tournament in his two-year run.

"I start on Wednesday," an excited Brookins said Friday, a day after meeting the players for the first time for a 30-minute introduction. "I already have one (summer) tournament set up for us to go to, and then we're also doing the summer league that Crater has put together, so it's going to be a busy June, but I think it's going to be great."

Brookins was a first-team all-conference guard at Crater before joining the Raiders and head coach Lynn Kennedy. At SOU, Brookins started the last 15 games and appeared in all 32 as a junior, helping the Raiders earn their second straight trip to the NAIA Division II national tournament. She started all 31 games as a senior, averaging 6.8 points and 3.2 rebounds.

"There will be a learning curve for her as a young coach, but we are confident she has what it takes to be a strong leader for our program in the years to come," Ashland athletic director Karl Kemper said. "(Brookins) exudes enthusiasm and energy. She has been well prepared for this challenge with her background of being involved with quality coaches in strong programs as a player. Her knowledge of the game is outstanding and her passion for working with young people will help her to connect well with our student-athletes."

Brookins, who has already applied for a teaching position in the Ashland school district, said she's excited about the opportunity.

"I just know what kind of influence my coaches had on me and I want to have that kind of influence on my players," she said. "I want to be there for all my girls."

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