Coach eager for new challenge

Published 3:23 pm Wednesday, June 6, 2018


Daily News

For Ken Klinger, it felt right.

Klinger was exploring his career options when he came across an opening for a boys’ basketball coach at LaGrange Academy.

“I was looking back to get into private schools,” said

Klinger, who has coached at Pike Road School in Alabama the past few years. “I really wanted to get back in a small-school environment. This popped up on the phone, I did an interview, and I really felt compelled to come to this school.”

Klinger was offered the job, and he happy accepted.

For the 2018-2019 school year, Klinger will not only be the head coach of the boys’ basketball program, but he’ll also coach tennis and cross country.

During an introductory get-together at LaGrange Academy last week, Klinger met with some of the players and their parents to let them get to know him.

“I’m excited to be here,” said Klinger, who has three children with his wife Kelley. “I’m excited to get to know you guys individually, and being a part of the LaGrange Academy family. We’ve got some amazing administrators here. I’m just excited to be a part of this team.”

Klinger grew up in Alabama, and he graduated from St. James High in 1995 before going on to play basketball at Huntingdon College.

Klinger coached at Montgomery-Catholic, St. James and Pike Road before coming to LaGrange Academy. Klinger enjoyed his most success at Montgomery-Catholic where he enjoyed four 20-win seasons, and he led the team to a 26-5 record in 2010.

Klinger, who calls himself “a big John Wooden fan,” shared some of his coaching philosophies during his meeting last week.

Klinger talked about the importance of a strong foundation, humility, unity, and passion.

“You have to work hard, and you have to be excited about what you’re doing,” Klinger said.

Speaking to the players, Klinger said “I’ve always been an up-tempo style coach. I like to run-and-gun a little bit.”

A lot of what Klinger will do from an Xs and Os standpoint, though, with be dictated by what he learns about the players leading up to the season.

Klinger is beginning that process this week by holding workouts at the school.

“I want to play basketball with you this week, and see what we’ve got, and kind of form our philosophy of what we’ll be, and that’s based on our talent,” Klinger said.

Klinger is a strong proponent of offseason workouts, and he believes the work done now will pay dividends down the road.

“You can’t expect to win come December and January if you haven’t done anything in June and July,” Klinger said.