Maine West cagers find ways to win while mourning death of longtime leader
For Kim DeMarigny, the highlight of Maine West High School's girls basketball season was not a single game or a single performance but how the team responded to a painful loss: the death of longtime head coach Derril Kipp in July.
“Just the determination that these girls had," deMarigny told the North Cook News. "We had quite a bit of adversity this year in losing Coach Kipp and just trying to regroup and refocus and keep our focus on the goals that we had set,” deMarigny — who was hired as the Warriors' head coach in August — told the North Cook News.
Hired as the Warriors' head coach in August, deMarigny was recently named a Coach of the Year by the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association.
“I was quite honored,” deMarigny said.
The Warriors went 28-4 last season, including an unbeaten mark in the Central Suburban League, and made a run to the super sectional round of the Class 4A State Championships.
Last season also was the first time that deMarigny — an assistant coach for six seasons at Maine West and a coach in other sports in other states over the years — had been the head coach of a varsity program. That led to her reaching out to other veteran coaches with questions.
She said she plans to keep working on her knowledge of the game and her profession.
“I will always be learning, so I will never have arrived,” deMarigny said.
She also credited Kipp for his teaching her his preparation and scouting skills.
“He was so amazing with just the tactical side of athletics,” she said. “He understood so well what needed to be done.”
DeMarigny said what impressed her most about Kipp was the way he would not write anything down while scouting, relying on his memory to work up a strategy.
“Hopefully, I've improved a little on my own as far as scouting and trying to come up with some kind of game plan to achieve what we want to achieve when we go into a competition,” she said.
DeMarigny said everyone at Maine West and in the CSL — and even outside of those two organizations — was supportive of the team in the wake of Kipp's death.
“I was just overwhelmed, really, by the amount of support I had from outside sources,” she said.
Sports has been a huge part of deMarigny's life for years, from being an all-state basketball player and an inductee into the athletic Hall of Fame at Christian County High School in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, to being an Academic All-American and team MVP in basketball at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee.
She said she cannot imagine her life without sports, and as a coach likes being able to give back to the players.
“It's nice to see young ladies really develop into a leadership role and be confident in who they are and what they're capable of doing,” deMarigny said. “I think a lot of times, our society, maybe with athletics especially, they don't really encourage young athletes to stand up and be leaders in all areas, not just in the athletic arena. But we really want them to be leaders in the classroom, the community, as well as the field or the court -- whatever they're doing.”
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