MaxWire National Blog

Covering High School Sports in America

Category: Iowa Girls Basketball

  • Gene Klinge became the seventh girls basketball coach in high school history to notch 1,000 victories on Thursday when Waukon (Iowa) defeated MFL MarMac (Monona, Iowa), 88-60. Legendary Leta Andrews of Granbury, Texas, is No. 1 in girls and boys basketball with 1,394 victories and still going strong.

    Photo by Jerry Wadian

    Gene Klinge, Waukon girls basketball coach

    Interestingly enough, the milestone victory came against a team from Klinge's hometown. On Jan. 2, 2010, Klinge beat his hometown team for victory No. 939, which gave him the Iowa record.

    The Indians, who had lost their previous two outings and had a third game postponed by weather conditions, were led by Daneshia Snitker, who scored 32 points and went over 1,000 points for her career. Alyssa Collins was close behind with 28 points.

    The 76-year-old Klinge, who has lost just 239 games in 51 seasons, told the Cedar Rapids Gazette, "It's been a wonderful run. But I'm glad to have this over with. The girls had gotten tired of it and I had gotten tired of it. I know it's a tremendous accomplishment; I don't mean to make light of it at all. For a while, I'd begun to wonder if it wasn't going to happen until next year.

    "More than anything, I'm proud of the percentage of games we've won in the long haul. A thousand wins, more than anything means a lot of cold feet on the bottom of yellow buses through the years."

    During post-game ceremonies he was presented a game ball, a commemorative money clip and an orange and black bust in his likeness.
  • There are a lot of things on a basketball coach's mind before a big game: what defense to run, what lineup to start, even what shirt to wear.

    But there's one question that most coaches never have to ask just before tipoff: "Where are the referees?"

    That can't be said for the boys and girls basketball coaches at Iowa schools Lawton-Bronson and IKM/Manning, who had their games canceled on Tuesday night when the scheduled officials never showed up for the game.

    "The (IKM) athletic director had a signed contract and he did his job, but the issue was that no one showed up," Lawton-Bronson athletic director and boys coach Vince Johnson told the Des Moines Register. "This is my nightmare as an A.D. You have signed contracts and you confirm it, but it doesn’t come together."

    The evening promised to be an exciting one, as all four teams came in undefeated and ranked highly in their division. Instead the teams and the anxious crowd waited 45 minutes, desperately searching for a replacement, before the Lawton-Bronson teams got back on the bus and made the 100-mile return trip.

    The games have been rescheduled for Jan. 10, with the site yet to be determined.
  • As the high school basketball season concludes across the country, several coaches are in the news:

    * Larry Niemeyer, who ranks third in Iowa on the all-time wins list, is stepping down after 34 years as the girls basketball coach at Jefferson (Cedar Rapids, Iowa). Overall, the 74-year-old Niemeyer has coached for 52 seasons and has posted a mark of 871-352. He went 537-261 at Jefferson, which included a state championship in 1993.

    Niemeyer also made his mark on the softball diamond. He holds the record nationally for most softball wins with a record of 2,053-423 in 51 seasons. He won three state titles in that sport.

    "I still enjoy coaching," Niemeyer told IowaPrepSports.com, which chronicled his career. "Who knows what I'll do next year. I might coach somewhere else. I might be a volunteer coach somewhere. Maybe I won't do anything."

    * As reported by Arkansas Preps, Marty Barnes is stepping down at Rogers (Ark.) after a 31-year career that concluded with 605 wins. He went 162-66 in eight years at Rogers and won a state championship in 1985 at Russellville (Ark.).

    * One of the top boys coaches in Utah, Steve Melessa resigned his position at Desert Hills (St. George, Utah). He led the Thunder to the Class 3A state title game this season. Melessa, who coached for 25 years according to The Spectrum, previously won a state title at Pine View in 2006.

    * It took nearly 30 years and more than 600 wins, but Tampa Prep (Fla.) coach Joe Fenlon finally realized every coach's dream – a state title.

    "It's amazing to think that for 28 previous seasons I had never walked into a locker room after our last game where we were happy," Fenlon told The Tampa Tribune. "I'm not often speechless, but at that moment I was speechless."

    Tampa Prep beat Weston Sagemont 58-50 for the first championship in Fenlon's impressive career. His tenure includes 617 wins and four appearances in the title game, according to the newspaper.