Coach Ingram named McDonald’s All-American Coach

Jake Anderson, Sports Co-Editor

Coach Steve Ingram served as an assistant coach in the McDonald’s All American Game for the girls West team on March 30, which his team won97-88 in overtime.

Players of this game are the top 24 players in the nation. Most of them have played on the 19-year-old and under USA Basketball women’s national team, so they have had lots of exposure for the McDonald’s All American selection committee to have a good look at them to choose the teams.

Sabrina Ionescu from Orinda, California, Lauren Cox from Flower Mound, Texas and Destiny Slocum from Meridian, Idaho, were all players on Coach Ingram’s team that have played on the national team.

Coach Jesse Nelson of Olpe High School in Emporia was selected as the head coach of the team through the same special committee that the players are chosen from.

The head coaches get to select anybody to be their assistants. Since Nelson and Ingram are good friends, Nelson chose Ingram to coach by his side.

Coach Ingram arrived in Chicago on March 25 fror practices throughout the weekend.

The game was played in the United Center, home of The Chicago Bulls. Playing in the same arena that Michael Jordan played in is, for most basketball players, a once in a lifetime event.

“It was a great experience,” Ingram said. “If anybody ever has a chance to do it, then they should.”

The McDonald’s All American game has been around for men since 1978. For girls, it started in 2002. This year is the first year that any coaches from Kansas have been nominated for the job.

Ingram also got the opportunity to experience coaching from a different perspective, literally. Being a head coach means one can sit or stand as one pleases and walk up and down the bench. As an assistant, that luxury is unavailable.

“Head coaches have the best view in the world,” Ingram said. “I was constantly looking around [Nelson] most of the game.”

Ingram’s coaching duties consisted of running substitutions and making sure everyone got plenty of playing time and setting up different plays to run.

“Truly, you don’t coach the players any different, you have expectations, and you expect them to do those things, and if they don’t, then you have to get on them a little bit,” Ingram said, “but you don’t have to get on them as much because they really don’t make many mistakes.”

The trip expenses for players and coaches is paid for by McDonald’s every year, and the players and coaches get first class, V.I.P. treatment.

“I got to live the life for a week, and it was pretty cool,” Ingram said.