After only two years with Lady Stag basketball, head coach KC Ahrens has been named the NEA League’s Coach of the Year and is fostering a new legacy with this program.
Ahrens has been coaching for 19 years. 9 of these years have been as head coach, 7 for boys basketball and 2 for girls. His zeal for coaching is accredited to his own high school basketball coach, who Ahrens says was a significant influence on his life. “Getting people to go in the right direction is huge—especially at 15, 16, 17, whatever the age of my athletes,” says Ahrens. “I just wanted to give back and be a positive influence like my coach was.”
As a coach, father, and middle school teacher, Ahrens is no stranger to kids and their needs. Both in the classroom and on the court, he puts emphasis on expectations and accountability. Ahrens’s coaching style commands respect from his athletes, some of which are his former students. “I’ll be the first person to chew you out if you don’t do something right,” he says. “But I’ll also be the first person to hug you and be proud of you when you’re successful.” His efforts have been widely acknowledged by all players, parents, and spectators; there is no doubt this award was earned.
If you ask Coach Ahrens, he agrees—this award was earned. But he thinks of it as a team award, one that his girls put forth as much effort to receive as he did. He explains it as an award that is given to the coach who gets the most out of their players. “My team did this for me. Without Hava [Fairbanks], Taylor [Lyons], Darian [Herring], and all my other kids, it doesn’t happen.”
This year, the Lady Stags embraced their team slogan of “it’s amazing what the Lady Stags can accomplish when nobody cares who gets the credit.” This slogan, their dedication, and Coach Ahrens led them to a 9-3 league season, and the second state qualification in school history. The first state appearance was 30 years ago. Junior Taylor Lyons was awarded a first-team all-league honor, and freshman Darian Herring was second-team. Senior Havalah Fairbanks has been named the NEA league MVP. Although Ahrens is grateful and proud of being Coach of the Year, he says he is more proud of getting his girls to buy into their slogan and play such a competitive season.
Next year, Coach Ahrens notes that he is sad to be seeing his seniors leave, but is excited and hopeful to be turning over a new leaf for girls basketball. “We are competitive and we are contenders,” he says proudly. “It’s time everyone sees that.”