Winchester just seems to be making a habit of attracting basketball coaches from much larger schools.
Tuesday morning the school hired Holly Gutierrez from Class 4A Pendleton Heights to take over its recently dominant program, and she was officially announced that night. She replaces Ed Geesaman, who won a pair of sectionals with Indiana All-Star Jill Morrison but only led the team to six wins the past two seasons.
It marks the second time in the past year-plus the Falcons got a basketball coach from a larger school. The boys vacancy last spring was filled by Matt Fine off a successful 10-year run at Central.
“We’re doing something right, I think,” Winchester athletic director Mike Jones said chuckling.
Attempts to reach Gutierrez were unsuccessful.
Gutierrez comes to a Golden Falcons program that was a regional power as recently as two seasons ago. Winchester won seven sectionals and two regionals from 2007-13 fielding future Division I players such as Morrison, who plays at Ball State, and Sarah Hamm, who played at Butler.
Gutierrez strung together several winning stints in a row. At Pendleton Heights, she went 41-27 and was at least four games above .500 each season. Before that, she spent two years at Northeastern, and in 2011 won the program’s first sectional since 1998.
She also had stints at Bradford High School in Ohio and her alma mater, MacMurray College in Jacksonville, Illinois.
Jones praised the deep applicant pool but said Gutierrez clearly rose to the top. He liked how she serves as assistant athletic director at Pendleton Heights and will also be a teacher in the building, but her background also stood out in another way.
“(She) has already done it, and she’s done it at three places,” Jones said. “A couple of her head coaching spots were not under what I would call the greatest of circumstances as she took over, so I know she’s up to the challenge of the rebuild that we certainly are in the process of at Winchester.”