Coach’s Corner: Evan Tingley
BRADLEY — Bradley-Bourbonnais has been fortunate to have some outstanding girls’ basketball players and teams over the past three years.
But behind every good team is an exceptional head coach and Evan Tingley fits the bill. Midway through his third season, he’s complied a 68-12 overall record. The Boilers sit at 17-5 with tournament around the corner.
We caught up with Tingley and talked about what makes this team special, his seniors and what coaching has taught him about himself along with other subjects.
Question: Mikayla Brandon and Camryn ‘Fiesty’ BeDell are your senior leaders on the team. Talk about what those two and the other seniors have meant to the program during your tenure as the head coach?
Tingley: Mikayla has been there from the start. She came back from a knee injury in my first year and hasn’t slowed down since. She’s a big-time player who raises the standard for all the other kids and they follow her lead. Feisty is tough as nails. She was a rotation player last year and then someone got hurt so I put her into the starting five and I couldn’t take her out. She does all the gritty stuff from diving on the floor to taking charges. She’s the ultimate glue player. The other three seniors make not play that much, but they’re just as important. They practice so hard and don’t take it easy on the younger players, which makes us better.
Question: This team lost a Division I point guard and one of the best shooters in the area. How has the team compensated for the loss of that offensive production?
Tingley: Losing Vinisha (Sherrod) and Kennedy (Weigt) was tough, but after playing games throughout the summer, I felt we had players who could play defensively as well as those two could. I thought we’d be a little better defensively and we have been. This group meshes really well and they’re the best communicating team I’ve had. What makes coaching this group even better is that there’s no egos and we all have the same goals.
Question: Not only are you the girl’s head coach, you’re also one of four assistants principals at BBCHS. How do you manage to balance all of that responsibility?
Tingley: It’s a lot, but these are the things I enjoy doing and I have an amazingly supportive wife who gets it. Most of the things I do here between the two involve being away from home. I struggle with it sometimes, but I’m doing things that I feel matter. There are things that happen as assistant principal that don’t have the best tone, however, the nice thing is that at 3:00 I get to transition to basketball and being surrounded by positive relationships. It’s a good balance.
Question: What has coaching this team for the past three years taught you about yourself?
Tingley: I love coaching, but what I love more is spending time with my team, coaches along with bringing my family and two kids around the team. I used to take losing really hard. I still do because no one likes to lose, but each year I’ve realized that there are so many more important things that come out of a basketball season. I push the girls to be better people on-and-off the court and they do the same for me.
Question: How have you seen younger players such as Evey Evans, Zoie Langlois among other contributors improve throughout the season?
Tingley: They’re all high-characters kids and they get better because of their mindset. They handle constructive criticism very well and want to get better. I’ve switched lineups this year a handful of times that could throw teams into disarray, but they don’t get in their own way. Those kids keep their heads down and work, which leads to everyday improvement.
Question: What is a major key to the Boilers having a deep postseason run in a tough Class 4A?
Tingley: We’re going to have a tough road and tough regional. Luckily we get to host so that helps a little bit. Defensively we can play with anybody, but we’ll have to cut down on our turnovers and make the most of each possession. If we do that, we have a good shot against anybody.