Girls basketball: Logan named new head coach

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By Mike Cote

Tarah Logan will be the new head coach of the Los Alamos Hilltopper girls basketball team.

Logan, who graduated from Los Alamos High School in 1990, was selected from a pool of six interviewed candidates, the LAHS athletic department announced this morning.

She will replace longtime head coach Gerry Washburn, who resigned from the girls basketball program in May to take an administrative position at Los Alamos Middle School.

When she officially steps into the post Aug. 11, it will be her first formal prep basketball coaching position.

Two panels, one made up of five girls basketball players and one made up of school officials, interviewed all six candidates Tuesday.

“My first concern is to get the kids together, do a sit-down with them and see where we are,” Logan said this morning. “This is a good program and I want to make it a great program.”

Logan, who attended Los Alamos and played basketball for Washburn’s predecessor, Tim Van Hecke, was formerly known as Kristie Bell.

Following her graduation in 1990, Logan attended the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn., playing basketball and volleyball there.

She graduated from the academy in 1994, but stayed on with the Coast Guard until 2000, when she returned to Los Alamos.

She currently works as a business manager at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Previously, Logan worked as assistant for the volleyball team. She also worked in an informal capacity with the girls basketball team, offering specialized coaching for the team’s point guards, the position she played at LAHS.

Logan is inheriting a program that has been among the more successful at LAHS for the past several years.

In the 2007-08 season, Los Alamos finished 17-10, winning its third straight District 2AAAA championship and qualified for the state Class AAAA playoffs before being upset by the Piedra Vista Panthers in the opening round.

Los Alamos athletic director Vicki Nelms said Logan was picked because of “her vision (and) where she wants to take the program.”

Logan’s contract officially starts Aug. 11, but she said she will try to pick up the program’s summer training regimen as soon as she can. Washburn said earlier this summer he would be running many of the workouts until he was replaced.

With a solid core of returners expected this season — the Hilltoppers lost just two seniors off last year’s squad — Logan said the team she’s inheriting is in very good shape and she plans to take advantage of their athleticism.

“A lot of the styles coaches decide to go with depends on the talents of the girls,” she said. “We have height and we have good speed. I look for a lot of running…high-energy is what I like to call it.”

One of her stated long-term goals for the program is to get local girls interested in basketball as young as possible, reaching to girls as young as kindergarten age.

Her main immediate goal, however, is to just let the community know that she plans to stay at this post for awhile.

“I’m really invested in this program,” Logan said. “I’d like to see it go to the next level. That’s my end goal.”

Logan’s hiring is the second in as many weeks for LAHS.

Rogelio Anaya was named the new softball coach last week by the school’s athletic department.

With the girls basketball position filled, only one head coaching vacancy at LAHS remains, that for the swimming and diving program.

Nelms said she’d like to have that head coach in place by the time fall practice starts in August, but no formal timetable is currently set.