Bishop Gorman has own ‘Coach K’

May 29, 2013

Bishop Gorman basketball has own ‘Coach K’ in Sheryl Krmpotich

By Royce Feour

With all due respect to a guy named Mike Krzyzewski who has compiled a pretty good record at Duke University, Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas has its own “Coach K” who has plenty to be proud of.

Gorman’s “Coach K” is Sheryl Krmpotich, who has been head coach of the girl’s basketball team for the past 15 years. Krmpotich has coached the Lady Gaels to four Nevada large-school State championships in 2006, 2007, 2008 and in 2010.

The Gorman girls should have captured the State basketball championship in 2009 but a highly controversial foul called against the Gaels with one-half second left in the game and Gorman leading by one point led to two Centennial free throws and a one-point loss for the Lady Gaels at the Orleans Arena.

“That was a horrible call,” Krmpotich said. “It was a charging call and should have been our ball.”

Gorman has also been runners-up in the State tournament four times, including the heart-breaking 2009 loss.

“Coach K” has a stellar 15-year record of 403 wins and 75 losses.

Before Krmpotich arrived in 1998, the Gorman girls had never made the finals of a State basketball tournament.

I can remember when  girls basketball at Gorman was weak — very weak. The Lady Gaels were at the bottom of the conference standings year after year. It would be hard to describe how bad things were.

Chuck Gerber, the outstanding former Gorman State-championship winning football coach and athletic director, can fulfill the role of unofficial athletics historian for the school.

Gerber said federal Title IX had a lot to do with the improvement of girls sports at Gorman.

“(with Title IX) Being an athlete (for the girls) was just as good as being a cheerleader or a Precisioinaire (drill team member),” he said.

Gerber said Krmpotich has certainly improved Gorman  girls basketball.

“She has definitely done a tremendous job,” he said.

Krmpotich said it is very rewarding to “coach these young ladies and watch them develop into premier athletes and get to the next level.”

“And winning the State championship is always nice,” she added in an understatement.

The Lady Gaels lost three key players who transferred out before this past season but still managed to reach the State championship game where they lost to a very good Reno High team led by Mark McGwire’s two outstanding nieces who are 6-foot-4 and 6-1. It was one of Krmpotich’s best coaching jobs.

“I enjoyed this (2012-13) season,” she said, “because we had five freshmen and two seniors and with all of the turmoil prior to the season. Everybody thought we would be horrible. It was gratifying to finish the way we did. We had an opportunity to win State.”

One thing that cannot be denied is the outstanding support from the Gorman alumni and the former parents. And many of the parents at any given time are former Gorman students themselves.

“The Gorman community, the tradition and the excellent support that Gorman provides is a family environment that feels like home,” Krmpotich said.

One of her elite players at Gorman and beyond was the 6-4 Ashley Gayle, quite possibly the best shot-blocker in the history of Nevada high school girls basketball.

Gayle was selected to the Parade High School Girls All-America team and she played in the prestigious McDonald’s All-America Game after her senior season in 2008. Gayle led Gorman to its third straight State championship with a win over Reno in the finals with 18 points, 16 rebounds and 10 blocks. Not a bad night. She was selected Nevada Class 4A Player of the Year.

Gayle played four years at the University of Texas and played professional basketball in Bulgaria last season.

Dannielle Diamant played on the Lady Gaels first three State champion teams. She was a Sporting News All-America honorable mention as a junior.

She played four years at Northwestern and was honorable mention All-Big Ten Conference last season and was on All-Big Ten Academic team.

The 6-foot-5 Diamant started 29 games and averaged 11.5 points per game and 7.8 rebounds per game. She had 93 blocks, fifth-best in Northwestern history.

Dannielle is the daughter of Jodie Diamant, who did so much to help her father (and Dannielle’s grandfather) Jerry Tarkanian finally get elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame with induction in September.

Aaryn Ellenberg finished her Bishop Gorman career in 2010 as Gorman’s all-time leading scorer with 2,144 points. She averaged 22.8 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.6 steals in leading the Lady Gaels to the State championship in 2010. Ellenberg was a Parade and McDonald’s fourth-team All-America and played in the McDonald All-America game.

Ellenberg will be a senior at Oklahoma next year and has been a starter since she was a freshman when she set a single-season school three-point record with 94. She broke her own three-point school record with 113 last season. She had made more three-pointers than 58 teams entering the NCAA Tournament last season.

Ellenberg was by far Oklahoma’s leading scorer last season with 18.7 points per game.

Krmpotich paid tribute to her long-time assistant coach Mike Carter.

“Mike Carter was a valuable assistant for 13 years and played a key role in our success, our State championships and the development of our players with the skills to go to the next level and receive college scholarships,” she said.

Krmpotich was born in Gary, Ind., and raised in Merrillville, Ind., and started all four years in basketball in high school and was All-State two years. She earned a basketball scholarship to Xavier University where she started four years and was all-conference as a junior and senior.

She was an assistant women’s basketball coach at Austin Peay for five years and for two years at UNLV.

“Coach K” has sent an impressive 34 players to college with scholarships, including 32 to four-year schools.

1.  Paige Sutton, Nebraska

2.  Anne Sostman, Saddleback Community College

3.  Jackie Flynn, Barstow (Calif.) Community College

4.  Jackie Munch, Vanderbilt

5.  Ashley Cook, Cal Lutheran

6.  Tiffany Touton, Texas-El Paso

7.  Jennifer Kline, South Florida

8.  Elizabeth Cansdale, Mississippi

9.  Breona Gray, Notre Dame

10. Cassie Burks, Carson Newman

11. Charity Renfro, Penn State

12. Moneka Knight, Texas Christian

13. Shanae Green, Stephen F. Austin

14. Cash Connors, Southern Utah University

15. Kaila Mangrum, University of San Diego

16. Lauren Hoisington, Northern Arizona

17. Lynsey Freeman, University of Texas-San Antonio

18. Ashley Freeman, University of Texas-San Antonio

19. Kaila Goff, Southern Utah University

20. Brittany Bridges, Chaminade College (Hawaii)

21. Darriel Gaynork, Mississippi State

22. Kiara Belen, UC-Irvine

23. Ashley Gayle, University of Texas

24. Dannielle Diamant, Northwestern

25.Yahindra Edwards, Alabama State

26. Aaryn Ellenberg, Oklahoma

27. Chelsie Pitt, Gillete (Wyo.) JC

28. Amber Lane, Menlo College

29. Meghan Carter, Saint Benedict College

30. Ashlin Gross, Leo University in Tampa, Fla.

31. Zhane Dikes, Univesity of San Francisco

32. Julia Ewalefo, Pittsburgh State

33. Tonishia Childress, Boise State

34. April Rivers, Austin Peay State

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