2013 KHQA Girls Basketball Coach of the Year: ERIC ORNE, Quincy Notre Dame


ERIC ORNE, Quincy Notre Dame

Rationale: The challenges keep mounting exponentially (growing pressure of ridiculously long win streak, enriched strength of regular season schedule, the ever growing bull's-eye,a jump to 3A Postseason Classification) and yet Eric Orne continues to make this impossible dance look decidedly easy. Historically speaking, the list of Tri State Coaches, in any sport, who rival Orne's career resume of achievement has grown decidedly short. Three straight state championships (just the fourth time that's been done in IHSA annals. The first ever back to back titles in different classes. Fifty three straight wins. We've entered some incredibly rarified air right here. We are talking about a dynasty that ranks favorably with Jerry Leggett era Quincy High basketball, Deke Pollard era Pittsfield Saukee Football and more recently the great Carthage grid run under Jim Unruh from 1998-2000. We are talking about legendary, incredible stuff here; a success rate made all the more impressive by the fact that under Eric's watch, a girls sport has become so incredibly broad reaching and mainstream to this community that 2300 fans will show up for a girls game in this town and no one bats and eye or says a dismissive word about it. That, to me, is Eric Orne's greater legacy. His teams have created a bridge to fans who never would have given girls sports much thought. If I had a buck for every person (many of them living outside the Quincy City limits) who told me they would rather watch a Lady Raiders Girls Basketball Game this season than any boys or college team in our area, I'd be a heck of a lot wealthier. Bottom line, the Lady Raiders were the hottest entertainment ticket in the Tri States this year and that speaks volumes. And while Eric Orne is quick to point out how blessed he has been with talent and how the it's the girls themselves that make the show, lets not forget that this outsized run of success didn't just start three years ago. QND has won with differing casts and other stars. You can put all the A List stars you want in a cinematic production. If the Direction isn't pitch perfect, the movie will still be a flop. The same holds true for Basketball where Orne's handling of every peak and valley has been precisely on point. The guy has become the ultimate high school sports CEO and his record backs it up. He is the best in the coaching business right now and it's not even close for second. And even more impressively, he's done it with a group of Class Act Young Women who positively represent this community in a manner that even if they couldn't dribble a basketball or hit a lay-up, would still do their hometown proud. Point blank, this whole phenomenon has been nothing short of a Perfect Storm. And Eric Orne has indisputably been the perfect leader for it. .


Runner-Up: CHRIS PARSONS, Palmyra

Viewers Vote: MATT LONG, Central-Southeastern

Past Winners:

2012-Eric Orne, Quincy Notre Dame

2011-Eric Orne, Quincy Notre Dame

2010-Mike Johnson, Marion County

2009-Ken Schuster, West Hancock

2008-Eric Orne, Quincy Notre Dame

2007-Bruce Martin, Routt

2006-Zach Keene, Carthage

2005-Jerry Jerome, Keokuk

2004-Jay Baldwin, Holy Trinity

2003-Matt Long, Central

2002-Kent O'Laughlin, South Shelby

2001-Tony Sargent, Cardinal Stritch

2000-Bob Plourde, Monroe City

1999-Randy Spratt, Marion County

1998-Bill Lapp, Carthage

1997-Jerry Jerome, Warsaw