Atkins aims to rebuild program | Girls basketball

Five building blocks will be the foundation of new Oak Harbor High School girls basketball coach Jon Atkins’ program, and he hopes those tenets will lift the Wildcats back onto a winning track.

The blocks – championship commitment, family, academics, metal toughness and basketball skills – are “important in developing a successful program,” Atkins said.

“I hope the lessons they learn though basketball will stay with them for the rest of their lives and make them better citizens and learn a bit about basketball along the way.”

The Wildcats struggled to win games the past few seasons and Atkins wants to the opportunity “to build the program back up.” He noted Oak Harbor had some “great years” and “state tournament runs” under the direction of coaches Dwight Lundstrom and Brett McLeod. Trisha Wieber, who coached the past two seasons, was starting to get the “program back on track.”

Now he wants to push it to the next level.

“There is a lot of room for growth,” he said.

Atkins will accomplish this goal “by focusing on training the whole athlete when coaching, adding a strength and conditioning (program) and developing leadership programs and mental toughness training.”

He added that success isn’t simply wins and losses: “A successful season to me would be one that we gave maximum effort in every situation and continued to have championship commitment each and every day.”

Atkins began his career as the junior varsity coach at New Life Christian School in 2002. After two years, he joined the Army. At the end of his service commitment, he went to Washington State University and did an internship in its strength and conditioning program, working primarily with the men’s and women’s basketball teams.

He starting volunteering for the Oak Harbor High School boys team led by head coach Mike Washington in 2008 and has been involved since, coaching the junior varsity the past three years.

In 2010 he started individual training for the North Sound Elite AAU basketball team and became the NSE varsity coach in 2011.

Atkins attended Oak Harbor High School as a junior and graduated from California’s Sutter Union High School.

His basketball philosophies have been shaped by legendary coaches Jerry Tarkanian, Paul Westhead and John Wooden.

He added that Jay Turner (Oak Harbor High School football and track coach) and Washington taught him how to handle high school athletes, parents and practices.

Atkins said his teams are going to play uptempo: “Fast basketball is fun to watch and fun to play. When basketball is fun, the girls are more likely to buy into the program.”

Atkins will be assisted by Eric Collins, who will move from the C team to the junior varsity. Kate Aplington will take over the C team, and Jasmine Walker, Brittany Suzanne, Cory King and Heidi McNeill will serve as volunteer coaches.

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