CLINTON — Although Clinton athletic director Gary Lueders did not specify who the three final candidates were for the currently open girls basketball position, he is excited about the potential and the future.
Former River Queens coach Mike Halac is leaving Clinton to take the head boys basketball coaching position at Center Point-Urbana.
“It’s his wife’s hometown, so it gets closer to their roots, and it’s a good move for him,” Lueders said. “We’re sorry to see him leave; he worked very hard here. He’s really laid the foundation for future success.”
Lueders says three candidates will interview for the position on Tuesday, and then he hopes to make a recommendation to committees comprised of parents and current student-athletes. Lueders believes the process could be done by mid-June to give the new coach some time to get acquainted with the team.
“We’ve hired some quality coaches using that system,” Lueders said of the committee process. “That’s the way I’ve liked to do it since I’ve been here.”
Sophomore Hannah Burken is one of the students on the committees, and she knows it’s time to move on even though Halac was a big inspiration for her.
“He’s been a great coach; he was the one who encouraged me to play basketball,” Burken, who averaged 2.7 points a game last season, said. “I wasn’t planning on playing until I had him.”
Burken says she’ll be looking for a coach who will spruce the program back to prime status.
“We need more girls,” she said after scoring two goals in a 2-0 Wednesday win in regional soccer action. “It’ll be nice to see how they can get that going. I’m wanting to see what they can do for our program.”