A new face will be diagramming the plays in the huddle along the bench for the Issaquah Eagles girls basketball team during the 2019-20 season.
Longtime Issaquah resident Doug Crandall landed the Eagles girls basketball head coaching position in late May. Crandall is the kind of coach who is committed to the community of Issaquah for the long haul.
“I have a really strong connection to the Issaquah community. My father-in-law (Steve Anderson) played basketball for Issaquah in the 1960s. My wife (Stephanie) played here and graduated from here in 1990. In fact, out of the six people in my household I’m the only one who didn’t go to Issaquah High School,” Crandall said with a laugh.
Crandall’s son Jason plays for the University of Washington men’s basketball team. His younger son Timothy plays for the Issaquah Eagles boys basketball program. The new leader of the Eagles girls basketball program is impressed by what he’s witnessed during his team’s summer practice sessions. Issaquah practiced three times a week for two hours per day in early to mid-June.
“They are super coachable. They’re just really hungry to work hard and get better. They have some pretty lofty goals and they’re a pretty young group but they are also very experienced,” Crandall said.
Crandall said seniors Katie MacNary (post) and Lauren Frueh (guard) are displaying their leadership skills in summer practices.
“When a couple of the girls on our team had birthdays on back-to-back days on a Monday and Tuesday, Katie asked if it would be OK if she brought in cupcakes and had a card signed for the players with birthdays during practice time. I thought that was awesome. She is really taking the lead. I love her attitude,” Crandall said of MacNary. “Lauren is another senior that just has a super positive can-do type of attitude.”
Crandall is thrilled to have former Eagles girls head coach Kathy Gibson as his varsity assistant on the staff this season. Gibson previously coached the Eagles girls basketball team for 15 seasons (2012-2013 season was her final year).
“Kathy just has an incredible amount of knowledge. I couldn’t have had a better partner. It has just been awesome,” Crandall said.
The Eagles compete in one of the most formidable leagues in all of girls 4A high school basketball, the 4A KingCo Conference.
“When you look at the RPI (high school rankings) from last year, three of the top-10 teams, including last year’s state champion (Eastlake Wolves), are in our conference. There is a bunch of D-1 basketball players. We will be competing against tough teams all the time and will see a great depth of competition,” Crandall said.
Crandall said his team played well during summer tournaments, compiling an overall record of 9-4 in three tourneys. The Eagles captured second place at the King’s summer tournament which featured 35 teams.