Girls' basketball: Harrison lands ex-Air Force coach McInelly

By Justin Shaw preps@gazette.com - Published: December 2, 2013 | 11:10 pm 0

Not many area high schools can say they have a coach with 15 years of college experience under their belt.

Harrison is the exception.

The school hired former Air Force and Idaho State women's coach Ardie McInelly to lead its girls' basketball program, and it has everyone - including McInelly - excited.

"I'm thankful, happy and excited to be here, and I work with great people," McInelly said of coaching and teaching at Harrison. "I haven't been back in the high school system in 23 years, so it's been a challenge because the education system has changed. But I have to thank the people at Harrison for helping me adjust. It's been challenging and rewarding."

After six years at Idaho State, McInelly spent nine seasons at the helm for Air Force from 2001-10. She briefly moved to the Midwest before returning to Colorado Springs and taking the job at Harrison.

"We're really excited," Harrison athletic director Dave Hogan said. "We're always telling the kids what it takes academically and athletically to get to the next level, and she affirms those beliefs. The kids are going to get the first-hand experience from someone who is the real deal, so our kids are blessed in a lot of ways."

After so many years in the college ranks, McInelly is adjusting to the high school game. While it's a new experience, she's looking forward to developing her players.

"The college kids are more disciplined and skilled, and those are the things we're working on here," McInelly said. "The relationship you build with the players is the most important thing because they'll try as hard as they can to be successful if they know you're there for them."

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