Local businessman has been involved in program for years

When the Crook County High School girls basketball team shows up for practice Monday afternoon there will be a lot of familiar faces on the LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Mark Malott chats with a group of Crook County High School girls during a recent open gym. Malott has recently been named the Cowgirl head basketball coach.

However, the program will be under new leadership. To no one’s surprise, Mark Malott, a volunteer assistant last year, has been named the Cowgirls new head coach.

“Mark has been involved in the program every since his daughter was in Spurs (Crook County’s girls youth basketball program),” Crook County High School Athletic Director Rob Bonner said. “He worked hard with the Spurs and they had a great youth program. He has visions of bringing that back and really working on getting those youth programs strengthened because he knows the importance of that.”

Bonner added that Malott is not only familiar with the program, he will also bring continuity and leadership.

“He’s had relationships with these young ladies for years, so they are very familiar with him,” Bonner said. “They are comfortable with his coaching style and you know he’s very much a results-from-hard-work type of coach. I love his style and I agree with his no-nonsense, get it done in the classroom, work hard, and succeed approach.”

Malott, a local businessman, played high school basketball and baseball at Redmond High School. He went on to play junior college basketball, and has coached both youth baseball and basketball.

“I’ve helped coach this group since my daughter Michaeline was in fourth grade,” Malott said. “It’s a good group that we have. They have been very successful.”

The Cowgirls lost just two players to graduation from last year’s squad, which finished with a 10-15 record, and Malott hopes to take advantage of that experience.

“We have at least eight players who lettered last year,” he said. “We have a great group of athletes.”

Although he had not yet been named head coach, Malott directed the summer basketball program, and has been running open gym opportunities for girls basketball players since school started this fall. A core group of players have been in the gym each Monday and Wednesday evening, playing full-court games and working on their skills.

In addition to improving the youth program, Malott has a more-immediate four-step plan for the program.

“We are going to stress four things that should make us more competitive this year,” he said. “We are going to stress the fundamentals, playing aggressively defensively, playing with pace, and ball security.”

In addition, Malott said that he believes in keeping things positive, and he wants the program to be about the girls and the work they have put in, not about the coaches.

“I’m an old school kind of guy,” Malott said. “I believe that if we work harder than everyone else, we will be successful.”

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