Arkansas City transplant Brandon Pride will be the Arkansas City High School girls basketball coach for the 2018-19 school year.
Pride is taking the reins following Brett Gunderson’s single season in the position.
“I’m looking forward to stepping into the girls program … after spending so much time in the boys program,” Pride said.
Prior to this, he served as the Arkansas City Middle School boys basketball coach.
Pride, a Tennessee native, settled in Arkansas City after meeting and marrying his wife, Tina (Luce) Pride.
They both served in the United States Navy. The couple have three children.
“I was successful at the middle school level, (but) high school is a new ballgame,” said Brandon Pride.
“I am a loyal Ark City transplant invested in this girls program,” he said.
Both Brandon and Tina Pride have been involved in sports in Arkansas City for several years.
“My wife and I coached at the Rec Center, third- through sixth-grade girls,” Pride said in an interview July 16. “I had some of the high school girls when they were younger. They are a competitive bunch. Just look at Ark City girls sports in general across the board.”
Many of the girls play several sports.
“The seniors (who) graduated were definitely athletic and role players,” Pride said. “The bench had depth in the underclassmen, though.”
The transition from last year’s season to the upcoming 2018-19 season will be eased by this depth of talent.
“They’re eager,” he said. “My coaching style is different than their past coaches, so there will be a learning curve for sure,” he said.
The team cannot start any practices or tryouts until Nov. 12.
“Right now, my assistants and I are working together to strategize our season,” Pride explained.
“KSHSAA rules are strict about summer practices and we’re at the end of the window.”
Pride’s style is different than his predecessors.
“I don’t want to give away our secrets, but I grew up in Tennessee watching Tennessee Lady Vols basketball during the Pat Summitt era,” he said. “I believe in defensive intensity and high-tempo offense. You gotta keep your foot on the gas!”
Pride said he is looking forward to the upcoming season.
“(I’m) excited. I love my day job, but I really enjoy the sports atmosphere in Ark City. Basketball is buzzing again and the stands were full last year. To have the honor of coaching these girls and to be part of Ark City sports is amazing,” he said.
“I have a passion for mentoring youth and this is one of the ways I get to see that through.”