New coach steps into Moffat County basketball job | CraigDailyPress.com

New coach steps into Moffat County basketball job

Idaho’s Kenley Nebeker seeks to keep Lady Bulldogs hoops high quality

Kenley Nebeker holds up a Moffat County High School basketball jersey in his office at MCHS. The newly hired girls basketball comes to Craig from Idaho, where his accomplishments included taking a boys team to state for the first time in more than 30 years.

Moffat County High SchoolMoffat County High School girls basketball was on the rebound this summer as they went from a banner season to lacking a head coach, but now they appear to be in good hands. girls basketball was on the rebound this summer as they went from a banner season to lacking a head coach, but now they appear to be in good hands.

Moffat County High School girls basketball was on the rebound this summer as they went from a banner season to lacking a head coach, but now they appear to be in good hands.

Newly hired head coach Kenley Nebeker met Thursday evening with parents of the girls hoops program. The new director of girls basketball comes to Northwest Colorado from Twin Falls, Idaho, though this isn't his first time in Moffat County.

Nebeker first visited Craig for several months in 2001 as part of mission work through the Church of Latter Day Saints. The area made an impression on him.

"I had a great experience in this town, I went all over Colorado then, but it was always a goal of mine to get back to the Western Slope," he said.

Most recently, Nebeker served as the boys basketball coach and physical education teacher for Gooding High School in Gooding, Idaho. He noted that the season before the squad had seen only five wins, but upon taking over, he brought them to not only a winning year but also the school's first entry in the boys state play-in game since the 1980s.

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"They're going to see some great success this year, they've got some great kids coming back, and that made it a little tough to leave, but I felt like there was a great opportunity here," he said.

Nebeker will also work as an instructional coach for Moffat County School District, a function which he believes is the right kind of step forward for his academic career.

In addition to coaching in a smaller function in Twin Falls' Canyon Ridge High School at the JV level, Nebeker — who also attended school at Pocatello's Idaho State, through which he is finishing his master's program — also spent several years with College of Southern Idaho athletics as an assistant coach and director of in-state recruiting for the CSI girls basketball program and assistant to the college's athletic director.

Nebeker will be joined by assistant coach Joe Padon, while the program is also looking for someone to head the C-Team girls. Additionally, while the head coach for Bulldog boys is set with Eric Hamilton, assistant roles still need to be filled, said MCHS Athletic Director Rich Houghton.

Houghton said it was Nebeker's "well-rounded" resume that caught his attention, as he liked the idea of someone with high school and collegiate coaching experience.

"He brings that connection for us if we want kids to go to that next level," Houghton said.

Houghton added that Nebeker has many ideas for activities off the court, such as fundraising.

Nebeker has yet to set any official practices — which technically can't take place until Nov. 11, according to Colorado High School Activities Association — though he hopes to begin to get to know players better during open gym setups once the scheduling allows.

So far Nebeker's knowledge of the Lady Bulldogs comes primarily from game film and online game details, though the knowledge of last season's accomplishments under predecessor Sam McLeod — who left MCHS this summer for a teaching position with Grand Valley — is something he hopes to use constructively in rebuilding the program.

"I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself more than outside factors," he said. "In Gooding, I had an expectation that we were going to make it to state for the first time in 30-plus years and here my expectation is to match what was done last year if not exceed it."

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.