Ms. Leake announced as new girls basketball coach

As of April 17, English teacher Ms. Hayley Leake will serve as the new head girls basketball coach.

Alex Buhse, Sweat Editor


Officially announced on April 17, English teacher Ms.Hayley Leake will be taking up the position of head girls basketball coach in place of History teacher Mr.Brian Ricker. Activities Director Scott Harris described the school’s thrill for Ms. Leake’s arrival into the girls basketball program and their sadness to see Coach Ricker leave.

“We’re very excited. We have a long standing girls basketball tradition here. Coach Ricker did a great job of building one of the top programs, not only in our conference and our county, but the St. Louis area,” Mr. Harris said. “So with him retiring from teaching [and coaching], our goal was to find a teacher in the building, and we were very fortunate that Coach Leake, the Communications Arts teacher in our building, has a very strong background.”

Mr. Harris described the vast background of experience that Ms. Leake will be bringing to the activities department.

“[She has] a very strong playing background, playing on a state championship high school team, playing Division I basketball, and also coaching at every level. She’s been a head coach at the high school level, an assistant coach at the high school and Division I college level. We’re very excited about her enthusiasm and the excitement she brings to our program,” Mr. Harris said.

Mr. Harris went into detail about the amount of applicants that applied and what they were looking for.

“We had a very strong pool. We had 32 applicants, [and] interviewed four people who were certified in the areas where we had openings,” Harris said. “We had teaching openings in Communications Arts, Social Studies, and Math. Like I mentioned [earlier], our goal was to get somebody in the building and interview people in those areas.”

According to Mr. Harris, of candidates chosen to be interviewed, all of them had strong backgrounds and experience with playing and coaching basketball. Mr. Harris talked about the experience each of the interviewed candidates had and what set Ms. Leake apart from the others.

“[Of the other three interviewed] one won a state title as a head coach and coached in college, another had been coaching for over 22 years at various high school levels, and our final candidate had been coaching for 18 years and coached a couple years of college as well,” Harris said. “What set Coach Leake apart was her attention for detail. She came in with a great plan for how she wanted to move forward, how she wanted to build upon the program, continue on our traditions.”

Anticipating her new opportunity, Ms. Leake described her emotions for the coming season.

“I am very excited to be the head coach of Spartan girls basketball.  I have the chance to help young people leave or shape their stories as athletes and individuals; I don’t know how it could get any better than that,” Leake said. “High school will end, but memories can never be taken away. I just want to help them create moments that they can smile about later.”

As to what she plans to do for the team, Ms. Leake described a lot of the beginning of her time as coach will be spent on bonding with the team.

“Ultimately, there are many things that a coach can bring to the table to improve the performance of a team. Before strategy and overall team condition can be utilized fully, however, a work ethic and a sense of trust must be developed.  Further, first and foremost, we will focus on us. What does hard work look like? Are our actions supporting what we say we are wanting out of our athletic experience? Do we consider ourselves sisters/a family? We will commit ourselves to working harder and smarter on the court and in the weight room and dedicate more of our time to each other rather than on ourselves.”

Junior Chelsea Ayres showed her excitement for having a new coach for the next year, describing how she’s excited about the new improvements Ms. Leake will add to the team.

“I think it’s going to bring something new to the table. We’ve never had a girl head coach, so that could be a new set of order. Since she played Division I [basketball] at SLU, she has a lot of credibility, and I want to see what’ll she be able to bring to the table that other coaches haven’t in the past. I’m really excited about it.