East Noble is the most recent area program to fill their girls basketball head coaching vacancy as Shawn Kimmel comes over from an assistant role on the boys side. Kimmel was announced as the new Knights girls basketball coach on April 22.
“Being an East Noble grad, this is a dream come true for a long time,” Kimmel said. “It was always about building that resume to be a better head coach maybe than I was the first time I was a head coach just to give myself more experience.”
As he mentioned, Kimmel is no stranger to running a program. He spent four seasons from 2004-2008 as the head girls coach at Pioneer. There, he established a 21-65 record with a career best seven win season in 2007. Before, during and after that head coaching experience, Kimmel was able to establish a wide array of experience with a diverse group of players across the state on the girls and boys sides.
“I think being a head basketball coach has never left my system. It just wasn’t in the cards of places that I was able to go,” Kimmel said. “With coaching boys and girls, you have a very different mindset. You have to understand that and go with it.”
Kimmel began his coaching career on the girls side under Bert McLaughlin at Central Noble, where he spent five seasons. After that, he spent one season working in Richmond, Ind. before his first foray into head coaching at Pioneer. He returned to Noble County after his year in southern Indiana, back again under McLaughlin now with the East Noble girls. Kimmel moved to the boys side with the Knights, coaching under Vince Beasley and Josh Treesh before moving back to the girls side in following Treesh to Central Noble.
Kimmel joined the coaching staff at Central Noble, where he helped the Cougars win a Class 2A State title in 2018 with All-Area players Sydney Freeman and Meleah Leatherman. There were times at Central Noble when Kimmel and fellow assistant Tim Andrews were forced into bigger roles than many assistants usually are due to Treesh’s health issues. It kept the head coaching mindset active for Kimmel in between his first head coaching stint and the forthcoming one.
On a couple of occasions, Kimmel had to step into a head coaching role.
“What was valuable about that was – there were a couple of things I learned from Treesh – one of those is that with defensive tenacity, nasty, get after it, outwork and other teams will just submit to you at some point,” Kimmel said. “But the bigger thing I learned from Mr. Treesh is he let his assistant coaches coach. He did a great job recognizing what his coaches had to offer and he let them do it 100 percent. That allowed Tim Andrews and I to really feel invested in that.”
Kimmel says that he also learned from Treesh and his time at Central Noble how to let up on strictness with what players are allowed to do offensively. He says that freedom was key in allowing some of the special players Central Noble had at that time play special all of the time without feeling restricted.
“That was profound to me to hear that. That is one of the real things I am going to take with me. I am going to try and make sure I don’t take any of our player’s confidence from them with anything that we are doing schematically,” Kimmel said.
Following his time at Central Noble, Kimmel headed back to East Noble to join Ryan Eakins’ staff with the high school boys where he has spent the past two seasons. But when DeAnn Booth exited the girls side after eight seasons, Kimmel jumped at the chance.
“Coaching girls is a lot of fun. It was the right time, right situation. I’m an East Noble grab, my goal was always to coach at East Noble,” Kimmel said.
East Noble will return nearly their entire team after going 10-16 this past season. The senior class will feature 8 players including All-NE8 First team players Karly Kirkpatrick (6.6 ppg, 3.1 apg) and Carly Turner (8.7 ppg) and Second team player Avan Beiswanger (7.8 ppg). In all, 10 Knights return from last season’s 11 player varsity roster; the lone graduating senior played very limited minutes. Wins over Bellmont and Central Noble highlighted East Noble’s 2019-20 season.
“The first thing that comes to mind is the athleticism and the speed. This group of girls is probably, if not the fastest, then tied with the fastest teams that I have ever been able to coach,” Kimmel said. “Which is going to be great when you think about the defensive tenacity, pressure that we want to put on people and the transition game that we want to be able to get into. That right now is the most exciting thing I have seen from watching game film already.”
The Knights have had three straight losing seasons after having winning marks the five seasons prior. Kimmel becomes East Noble’s fourth girls basketball coach in the past 20 seasons.
Booth went 100-97 in her eight seasons running the program.