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New coach to lead Blackhawk varsity

November 18, 2009 - Brandon Twp.- The new Brandon Blackhawks boys varsity basketball coach is a familiar face— Bryan Ray has been coaching the girls' varsity basketball team for the past decade.

"It's an exciting challenge," said Ray. "Switching form the girls to the boys is bittersweet. We have a great bunch of girls, but at the same time, we have an opportunity to get the boys up to a competitive level and the top part of the Flint Metro League."

The seniors on the boys' team also know Ray from when he coached boys basketball at the middle school several years ago.

"Part of the reason I like the switch, considering the circumstances and needing a coach so close to the beginning of the season, is that the boys know Coach Ray and he knows them," said Athletic Director Wayne Thompson. "He coached the boys who are seniors this year, when they were in sev-enth grade... The transition is pretty easy, they don't have to totally learn everything with a brand new person." Ray teaches economics at Brandon High School and has been with the district for 11 years. He coached boys varsity basketball his first four years, and girls varsity basketball the last seven years, as well as doing a stint coaching middle school basketball. He also played basketball himself in high school and at Adrian College. Ray replaces Tim Donnan, who has moved on from the district due to issues with his teacher's certification after seven years with the district. He was head basketball coach for about the past five years.

"Organized chaos" is how Ray describes his basketball philosophy. "I want to get the kids to play hard, think for themselves, make good decisions," he said. "Defensively, we'll be one of the best teams in the metro.

Offensively, we'll shoot the ball well and grind it out. I'm expecting a lot this season."

The girls basketball team had a 12-9 overall record last year under Ray's direction and took third place in the league with a 12-6 record. The boys basketball team had a 8-13 record overall last year, and were 7-11 in the league.

"Coach Ray is experienced and knows the game well," Thompson said. "I'm excited about the season and have a feeling they will be fun to watch." The varsity girls' coaching position was posted last week. Assistant Coach Eileen McClennen is interim coach. The varsity girls will play their first game Dec. 1 at Goodrich. The boys' first game is Dec. 8, against Goodrich at home.

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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