Elko High School receives a new basketball coach
By: Allie McDade
Walking into a high school gymnasium, spectators can hear the whistles of the referees, squeaky sneakers on the wooden floor, and the cheers and boos of a hometown crowd. Paying the admission fee the spectators walk to the bleachers to find a seat. Finding a good view of the basketball court, and armed with a hot dog and a cold fountain drink in hand, the spectators watch the ending of a boys’ junior varsity basketball game and the buzzer sounds, BEEEEEEEEEP!
The JV boys’ game finishes up and the teams line up and slap hands, and leave the court. Soon the crowd’s ears are serenaded by the high school pep band’s cadence of the arrival of the girls’ varsity basketball team. As the drums blare and cheers grow louder, the Elko High School girls’ varsity basketball team comes running through its fanmade tunnel. The team is followed by a tall blonde dressed in the school colors of maroon and white. Holding her coaches book, she heads to the bench in preparation for the game. Talking to her assistant coaches and watching the opposing team warm up, the coach prepares for the game.
The buzzer sounds. Time for tip-off. The Elko girls varsity basketball team takes their leadership from their new head coach, Kaaren Ross.
Ross is no stranger to the game of basketball. She got her start in basketball at an early age living in Montana. Her number one contributor to her success was her father, Bruce Weeter. He was a great athlete, excelling in high school sports and going on to play in college, and became a professional football player in the Canadian League. Bruce was not blessed with any sons, but that did not stop him from teaching his daughters how to be competitive. He taught his girls what dedication and hard work was. In the Weeter household, competition was the number one thing. Ross was taught to be competitive and she used that competitiveness throughout her life.
In high school, Ross played basketball and ran track. She knew that basketball was truly her love. She earned a basketball scholarship to play for Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana. After school, Ross got her first teaching job on the premise of coaching basketball.
One of Ross’s best experiences outside of college basketball was being an assistant coach to Randy Rogers, current head coach for the women’s basketball team of College of Southern Idaho. Back then, Rogers was the head coach for the Spring Creek High School girls’ basketball team, and Ross was freshly out of college with a teaching job in the Spring Creek area. Seeking her love of basketball, she was introduced to Rogers and began helping coach.
Rogers and Ross had a great chemistry together. There were no short cuts in their approach to coaching. It was all about hard work and dedication.
“Our philosophy was the same, and we fed off each other,” said Rogers.
Running practices, Rogers would use the former Division I player to show the high school girls how to be aggressive and have that “no-nonsense” drive. Once she stepped on that practice floor, that dedication, hard work and competition would just naturally come to Ross. She was made for this sport, and her knowledge of the game showed.
A former player of Spring Creek High School, Chelsey Heath, said of Coach Ross:
“Ross was a good coach. She knew every aspect of basketball and knew how to get the team to mesh and play good hard-nosed basketball.”
Ross took a twelve year break from coaching. She got married and started a family. Once she had her kids, she decided to get her priorities a little straighter. Staying close to home, Ross coached P.A.L basketball and junior high basketball. She did what she could to still be involved with the sport that she loved. As her children grew older, Ross was ready to go back into the high school world of basketball and was offered an assisting position at Elko High School.
Ross started helping assist Larson for a basketball season with the Elko High School basketball team. She had no qualms about being an assistant to Larson, she just loved being back in a competitive environment again and on a basketball court. The season ended and time went on. As the summer rolled around, Ross was offered the head coach position from Larson. Ross knew she needed to make a decision. She knew what she had to do and she knew her children were old enough. It wasn’t an easy decision, but she accepted.
The first night on the practice floor a feeling came over Ross.
“…Where I’m meant to be is on a basketball court” she said.
Taking on a head coach position has more responsibilities. Ross liked assistant coaching because it was all about the games and preparing practices. Head coaching means more parents, more fundraisers and more talking with the media. In her new position, she hired a secretary to keep the books and records, update the webpage, and do the paperwork. Ross just wants to be on the floor with the girls, to teach them that hard work and the “no-nonsense philosophy” that she knows so well.
Taking the reins of a high school basketball team, Ross is very excited and can’t wait to teach this new set of basketball players all about the sport.
“I’ve got some good things that I can instill on these girls and that is just to flat out compete and do the best you can,” Ross said.
As this new wave of basketball players come in, Ross is geared up to start teaching the young basketball players hard work. With a new coach coming in on the court, the players are anticipating some changes. Alicia Marin is a returning player and had some good words to say about her new coach:
“She brought a lot to the court for our team. She definitely knows the game of basketball. Her love for the game was something that made me want to push harder in practices and games.”
As a coach who has been out of the game of high school sports for twelve years, Ross has not lost her touch. She is a very motivated individual and always wants the best for her players to strive and to succeed. She enjoys coaching and teaching her players what hard work is all about.