Sports

Bykonen takes over as Coupeville's girls basketball coach

When the Coupeville girls basketball team hits the floor for its first game this week, it will be under the direction of a new coach, Jackie Bykonen.

Bykonen, who was the Wolves’ assistant coach last winter, replaces Blake Severns, who resigned after three years at the helm.

This is Bykonen’s first head-coaching job. As well working with Severns last year, she coached while student teaching in Blaine and while growing up in Auburn.

At Blaine she worked with the school’s highly respected coach Rob Ridnour.

Bykonen said, “I learned a ton from him and he has helped me prepare for the season.”

As a student and player at state power Auburn Riverside, she said she coached at the school’s “very successful youth camps.”

Bykonen expects to run a man-to-man defense with “a lot of pressure”; offensively she will emphasize a running transition game.

She said, “I want to spend less time on plays and more time teaching the girls to play basketball and create for themselves. I did not have a whole lot of structure when I played, just one set play that we could run a lot of other plays out of.”

Her goals for her team are to “have fun and improve every game.”

She would also like to “get a group of girls together that want to play in the spring and summer.”

Severns said, “Coach Bykonen has a great feel for playing the game. She will help individual players improve their skills and mental approach to the game.”

Severns’ coaching philosophy emphasized the growth of his players as people as well as athletes. He said Bykonen will continue that approach: “I know that Jackie cares about them as people, will challenge them and will treat them well…I believe Jackie will make playing basketball a positive experience.

“Jackie also brings an enthusiasm and passion for the game and I think the girls will embrace that enthusiasm.  She will push them and make them work extremely hard, but the players will know it is to help them succeed.”

David King, a long-time volunteer for Coupeville youth and high school athletics, will be Bykonen’s assistant.

Bykonen teaches physical education at Coupeville High School and works as a personal trainer in the summer. She plans on getting certified in teaching cycling and yoga, and she will be going back to get her masters in administration next year.

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