Lisa Bishop has experienced basketball just about every way you can imagine.
She was an all-state player in high school and enjoyed a successful collegiate career at Iowa State.
She’s coached the sport at various levels and even spent three years developing a youth basketball program in the northern part of Iraq.
Now, at 32, Bishop will take on the only basketball experience that she ever imagined.
Bishop was named the head girls’ basketball coach at Solon on Thursday pending approval of the school board.
“Since I was 14-years-old that’s what I wanted to do,” Bishop said of coaching high school basketball. “My high school basketball coach was also my art teacher so for a really long time that was wanted I wanted to do, that was basically my dream job.”
Bishop was a three-time all-stater during her prep days as Lisa Kriener at Saint Ansgar High School.
At Iowa State she was a three-time first-team academic All-Big 12 honoree while helping the Cyclones to a pair of NCAA Tournament berths.
Following her playing days, Bishop was an art teacher and junior high coach at Northwest Junior High in Coralville.
In 2010, she moved to northern Iraq with her husband, Andy, after spending a year teaching and founded Highest Hoops, an Iraqi youth basketball program.
“Originally went to be teachers and then after about a year of being teacher we realized the need of sport and extra-curricular activities and how that would really benefit the kids and so we started a youth basketball program,” Bishop explained. “It was a really special part of our life.”
Bishop returned to the United States in June.
When she saw the opening at Solon she was skeptical of the timing. She has two young children and is expecting her third any day now, but after speaking with her husband, she couldn’t pass up the chance to be a head coach.
“I am thrilled to be a part of a community like Solon and be their head coach,” Bishop said. “It is a great opportunity.”
Bishop replaces Tony Nicol, who registered a 34-34 mark in three seasons leading his alma mater.
Solon finished 13-9 last season and notched its first winning season since going 17-5 in 2010-11.
“We’re very excited about having coach Bishop lead our girls basketball program,” Solon Athletic Director Keith McSweeney said. “We believe our girls are going to love Lisa’s positive energy and passion. She brings a wealth of playing experience and knowledge to our program but I’m most excited about her serving as a tremendous role model for our student-athletes.”
Solon returns four of its top five scorers and rebounders from last year’s team that opened the season with eight straight wins.
Josie Durr, Hannah Bluder, Nicole Oberthien and Dakota Doyle all return for Solon after averaging between six and nine points per game.
“I feel like the girls are hungry and want to improve and win and have a successful season in all areas,” Bishop said.
Reach Ryan Murken at 319-339-7369 or email@example.com and follow him on Twitter at @rmmurken.com.