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Bree VanBuskirk hired to take over as girls basketball coach at Bridge Creek

VanBuskirk coached at Class B Carney the past three years.

By Buck Ringgold

Bree VanBuskirk has had many mentors who have helped guide and influence her as a coach.

Perhaps her biggest mentor came at a very early age.

"My first coach was my mom, and she was the one who inspired me to want to be a coach by putting a basketball in my hand at the age of 3 and motivating me to do my best at the game," VanBuskirk said.

Now VanBuskirk is taking a huge challenge in her next chapter as a coach.

VanBuskirk was named earlier this week as the new girls basketball coach at Bridge Creek. She is taking over the Class 4A program after a three-year stint as the coach at Class B Carney.

At Bridge Creek, VanBuskirk is taking over a Lady Bobcat program that went 4-22 this past season.

"I was attracted to the job at Bridge Creek because of their great school district, facilities, and their strong traditions that they have," VanBuskirk said. "The program will be in a rebuilding year with the girls getting to know a new coach and losing a senior scorer from last year.

"It will be fun a season to be a part of."

But VanBuskirk helped turn things around in her previous job. Carney won just three games in her first season; however, the following season they went 11-8 and finished 13-11 this past season, though they lost by one point to Oaks in the opening round of the district tournament.

Prior to taking over at Carney, VanBuskirk had been an assistant and the freshman coach at Mustang for five seasons.

Originally from Elmore City, VanBuskirk played all four years at high school but did not play at the collegiate level. By then, though, she was preparing to be a coach.

VanBuskirk went to East Central University in Ada, where she got a bachelors of science in education. She also graduated ECU with a master's in educational counseling.

To VanBuskirk, her objective is to do more than just teach her players skills.

"I want to coach young athletes not only skills but effective characteristics such as hard work, dedication, accountability and attitude that will help them throughout life and the game of basketball," she said. "I believe that you should coach student athletes hard, while giving them a safe and loving environment where they can flourish."

Along the way, she has had several other influential mentors to help build her style of coaching, beginning with her mom.

"From there, I have to thank Kyle Karns, Dana Schafer, Joe Terrell, Christie Jennings, Keith Gunter and Kevin Korstjens," VanBuskirk said. "All of these amazing coaches have been a true inspiration to me and my coaching style."

Ironically, Korstjens is the current boys coach at Bridge Creek and had previously been the boys coach at Mustang when VanBuskirk was there. Korstjens also served as the girls basketball coach at Edmond North. 

"Kevin Korstjens really pushed me to further my career as a head coach," VanBuskirk said. "I can’t thank these mentors enough for pushing me to be a better person as well as a better coach."

And now VanBuskirk is ready to put her stamp on the Bridge Creek girls program.

"My expectations are to build a strong, hard-working group of athletes that want to compete and have a good attitude on and off the court whether we win or lose," she said.