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Broughton takes over for Lady Pack

Broughton takes over for Lady Pack
Broughton takes over for Lady Pack
Former Crawford County Wolfpack varsity basketball player Chris Broughton recently was appointed the coach of the school's Lady Pack basketball program. For the past two seasons, Broughton, who has been around basketball since he was a child, has been an assistant to boys' varsity coach Mike Brown. Photo by Wade Bell (click for larger version)

Crawford County’s Chris Broughton has lived a large chunk of his 25 years with a basketball in his hands, all the way back since he was very young. More recently, he’s had the chance to work from a coaching position, teaching the basics to elementary students at Leavenworth and also the Crawford County fifth- and sixth-grade all-stars for three years. The last two seasons Broughton has been an assistant to Crawford County boys’ varsity coach Mike Brown. Broughton now has a bigger task in front of him, as he prepares to take over the helm for the Crawford County Lady Pack.
‘It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, and I see it as a tremendous opportunity,’ Broughton said. ‘I’m very grateful that the people would offer it to me and to have a varsity coach at such a young age. I feel grateful they have enough trust in me and feel I can do a good job.’
Broughton knows he has a major challenge in front of him. The Lady Pack have struggled the last few years and were winless in their 22-game season this past year. Despite that, Broughton is taking a positive attitude into the program in hopes of turning it around.
‘I know that coach (Alan) Cox and coach (John) Bowles had some good teams in the past, and then they just had a lot of youth the last two years,’ Broughton said. ‘When you have a lot of youth on your team and you’re playing a lot of schools that have a lot of returning players, it’s tough. Hopefully, in the next few years, the shoe can be on the other foot and we can be the ones having the returning players and playing schools that have younger kids. It’s just kind of a cyclical thing. That’s how it is.’
Broughton knows he has some talent on his team and hopes to mold that talent into the kind of players he wants. Many of the Lady Pack’s games last season could have fallen on either side of the fence, including a 35-33 loss to a then 10-5 Providence team.
‘I’ve got a lot of athletes,’ Broughton said. ‘I’ve got some senior leadership. I do have some kids coming back this year that did not play in the past that are going to help. I have athletes, and we’re going to get out and press. One thing that hurt them last year is they hardly had any depth. They only had five or six kids they could really play, where this year I’m looking at having seven, eight or nine girls that I’m going to be able to run in and out.’
Broughton said the first big challenge will be to create a mindset in his team that it can win games. Helping Broughton to create that mindset will be junior varsity coach Brandi Stroud and varsity assistant Jeff (Pete) Crecelius, who was the school’s former golf coach.
‘It’s going to take some game experience to do that,’ Broughton said. ‘You just have to do it with little steps, too. What can we be successful at today? A lot of the drills and things I’m introducing to them are new, so let’s practice it, and, when we get better at it, ‘Hey, we were successful at that.’ You start small and work your way to bigger things. That’s what I’ve been trying to do with them, to show small things they can be successful at, and then you build on it and work on those bigger things.’
The response to Broughton’s new system has been positive during the summer season. While the sessions have been tough, Broughton said his players have shown an eagerness to improve.
‘That’s something I’ve been very pleased with,’ Broughton said. ‘I feel like I’ve really challenged them in practice. We’ve done a lot of tough drills. I told them right off the bat it’s going to be tough this summer because I want to see who is going to stick with it and who I’m going to be able to trust when the season gets here.’
As for expectations for the 2013-14 season, Broughton said he is not going to be satisfied winning just one or two games after the Lady Pack went winless last year. Crawford County’s new girls’ coach has set the bar at winning both a sectional and conference championship.
‘I told them when I took this job, and I told the parents as well, I’m not doing it to win one game,’ he said. ‘I’ve had a lot of people tell me, ‘Oh, if you just win one game or two games, that’s a lot better than last year.’ That’s not the reason I’m doing it.’
‘With the kids that I have coming back, with the teams in our sectional, we have some tough teams, but we have some teams I feel we can compete with,’ Broughton said. ‘If you get a good draw, you can be right there, and anything can happen in a sectional championship. ‘ And then to just flat-out compete against every school that we play. We don’t want to have any blow-outs. We want to be in every game. That’s our expectations from the get-go.’
The Lady Pack face a tough beginning to the season, first traveling to Salem then facing Forest Park, North Harrison, Southridge and Northeast Dubois. Broughton admitted that the beginning of the season may be a bumpy ride but, if his team can weather the first few storms and possibly steal a game or two, after that there are teams his players can compete with and they can get on the winning track.
‘We play some tough schools before Christmas,’ he said. ‘But, if we can just get through that … where we can have some games I feel we can win, some conference opponents, smaller schools. If they can stick through it, they can see there might be a light at the end of the tunnel.’
Crawford County’s newest girls’ coach said he is already looking forward to getting the season underway.
‘I’m really excited,’ Broughton said. ‘I know just getting into the swing of the girls’ program is a new thing. There’s a big difference, but they’ll do anything I ask them because a lot of it is new. I haven’t had any of them say, ‘I can’t do that,’ or ‘I’m not going to do that.’ It’s been, ‘What can I do?’ ‘What can I do to be better at this?’
‘One of the things I’ve really enjoyed with the girls is they’re willing to try any kind of drill or anything I ask them to do. ‘ I think the program looks pretty good. Again, it’s just building that mentality and trying to get a successful program and setting high expectations that we’re working on right now.’