Hired just three weeks before the season, Michael Pomerenke takes the helm of the girls basketball team

by: ESTACADA NEWS: PARKER LEE - New Estacada girls basketball coach Michael Pomerenke teaches a defensive drill during an early-season practice Monday.After two straight last-place finishes, the Estacada girls’ basketball program desperately needed to find someone to restore a winning attitude. The Rangers have found the man who they think is up for the challenge.

Michael Pomerenke was hired as the new head coach three weeks ago, just in time for the 2013-14 season.

“I’m looking forward to it. It will be good times,” Pomerenke said. “I’ve got some great kids that I’ve met so far, and it has been great. The girls have made me feel welcome.”

Pomerenke got his first taste of high school basketball in his high-school days at Milwaukie. He went on and played at Mt. Hood Community College for a year before shipping out to Vietnam. He played a second season at Mt. Hood after his return from Vietnam.

Pomerenke got into coaching two decades ago and has a proven track record of turning programs into winners. He got his start in 1994 coaching in the YMCA organization, then in 1996 as an assistant for the Portland Adventist boys’ basketball team. While there, Portland Adventist won a state championship. Pomerenke moved on and joined the boys’ basketball staff at Reynolds.

Pomerenke got his first head-coaching job at Molalla where he coached the girls’ team. After three years at Molalla, he coached the girls at Putnam for three years. Pomerenke then headed up the girls at Oregon City for two seasons.

Last season, Pomerenke served as an assistant coach for the Sandy boys’ basketball team and helped the team achieve its best season in 30 years. Following Sandy’s run in the state playoffs, Pomerenke spent the offseason working with the girls’ team at Oregon City. He considered taking the top job within that program, but ultimately decided Estacada was the right fit for him.

Pomerenke is aware of the struggles the Rangers have experienced in recent years, and he knows those woes have been a detriment to the mindset of the team. His top priority is transforming the players’ thinking, which he believes will create a culture that is conducive to winning.

“They are content to lose, and we are going to change that,” Pomerenke said. “We aren’t going to be content until we start winning. But we are going to have fun, and things can only go up.”

The new approach will be a change – and probably a shock – for many of the returning Rangers, but Pomerenke is confident they will take it in stride and will elevate themselves to meet it.

“Any time you have a new coach, the coach and players will test the waters a little bit at first,” Pomerenke said. “The test has begun.”

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