Russell Olin is the new head coach of the Lady Muckers Basketball Varsity team, but is not new to the Muckers basketball program.
Last year Eddie Cobb led the varsity girls team at Tonopah High School and did this for 12 years. Olin was his long-time assistant and was Cobb’s most likely successor. He is very familiar with the team and knows the seniors better than anyone else.
Caring, fun, different and knowledgeable are some of the adjectives that his players use to describe Olin according to senior varsity basketball player Elise Salsbury. She said his kind-hearted character, his dedication and his methods are what she likes about her coach.
“I like how he keeps an open mind about everything out there and how he is willing to try anything no matter what happens,” she said.
His flexibility makes the difference for the girls said veteran player Ashley Gray.
“If he wants us to do something, we will do it because he knows what the players can do and have to do, he is a good coach,” Gray explained.
Senior Julia Klapper loves his knowledge of the game.
“He knows what he is doing and I love the way he plays his game,” Klapper said.
For Olin, this is not only about basketball.
“My coaching philosophy is to teach the players how to do things right. Our goal is to win, but not just to win games. I want them to win at life. So, I also have to teach them other things like work ethics,” he said.
However, he acknowledged that part of the job in this area is already done because “the parents teach these girls very well and they are good girls,” Olin recognized.
Olin will also count on Gray to dominate inside but also to hit the boards. He said that she’s probably the best passing post he has ever coached.
Olin also likes the toughness of Julia Klapper. She did really well two years ago on the JV’s and when her shots are on it really helps the team.
After two years without playing, Bria Galli is back and with her will comes her good passing. Cheyenne Torres and senior Jessie Alva are two other important assets for this team. Sandra Dunn he said will also be a good asset inside. She came out last year so she has some experience.
On defense, Jaime Hewitt will be a good help because of her aggressive game and her ability to steal the ball. Olin also likes Maddi North and Kathy Swafford on defense. Both of them were Olin’s guards on JV.
“We are going to have a pretty deep team, so if one person is in foul trouble, we are going to be able to come in and fill someone right in, and our skill level on the court won’t go down,” he said. “I’m still looking for an assistant, someone who is willing to work with the girls, that is the main thing. As for me, I’m pretty easy to work with.”
Olin is looking forward to the schedule and the possibility of returning to the playoffs.
“We’ll play some tough teams. Eureka has almost everybody back, and it took the state title last year. Alamo is fast and quick. Indian Springs is usually pretty tough inside.”
Before starting league games, the Muckers will play at the Wells Rural Electric Tournament, starting on Thursday, December 5.
“We will play game by game but the first three games are getting ready for the league, so I’m going to see if we can do some different things and if they work against the non-league games we will use them in league, and if they don’t, we’ll just scrap them,” Olin said.
Olin is not afraid of challenges facing his team. He knows it will be hard to replace the tough inside moves of the beast, Deanna Vanpoucke, who led the Muckers offense inside and was also a key player on defense.
“I think we will be successful this year. I’m hoping we can build on last year’s success and do just as good, if not better. We have got a good group of girls on the court. We’ve got some talent moving up and we will be fine,” he explained.