Lyndzee Greene McConathy knows turning around the fortunes of Lakeside girls basketball won’t be easy.
But that’s OK with her. She likes a challenge.
McConathy, who was an assistant girls basketball coach at Benton the last three seasons, is the new head coach of the Class 2A Lady Warriors.
She takes over a program that won just three games last season and only 15 in the last four.
“I’m really excited,” McConathy said. “I’ve always wanted to be a head coach. I’ve always wanted to build a program. And Mr. (principal Danny) Finley at Lakeside really told me about his passion and his vision of what he wanted Lakeside to become and I bought into it.
“I really believe that community thrives off being a basketball community and these girls, they just need somebody to come in there and excite them. I truly believe we can turn it around.”
McConathy was an assistant at Bossier High for one year before coming to Benton, where she also served as head cross country coach last season.
“I’m very thankful for the opportunity that (Bossier principal) David Thrash and (former Benton principal) Mitch Downey gave me to represent their schools,” she said. “I love Bossier Parish and am truly grateful to them for giving me the start that they gave me.”
McConathy comes from a prominent basketball family.
Her father, Chris, has been the head girls basketball coach at South Beauregard for the past 32 years. Her father-in-law, Mike McConathy, has been the head men’s basketball coach at Northwestern State for the past 16 seasons.
Her late grandfather-in-law, John McConathy, coached Bossier to a boys basketball state title in 1960 before becoming superintendent of Bossier Parish Schools.
Lyndzee McConathy said she got much of her coaching philosophy from her father.
“He’s the guy that made me into the coach and person and player that I was and am,” she said. “Even today, he’ll call me and I’ll tell him about a situation and he’ll say, ‘What if you did this?’ and I’ll tell him something else, and we draw up plays together and we play defense against each other.”
Lyndzee is a graduate of NSU, where she played basketball from 2006-09. Her husband, Logan, also played at NSU.
McConathy said she uses her husband as a sounding board.
“I’ll come home and I’ll tell Logan about our our game, and then he’ll give me a whole different input from a spectator’s perspective,” she said. “He has so much basketball knowledge. He’s like my own little personal assistant at home.”
Family comes first for the McConathys, and that was another reason Lyndzee decided to make the move to Lakeside. Logan is the new State Farm Insurance agent in Minden. His office is about 10 minutes from Lakeside.
The McConathys have two young children, Miles, 2 and Miller, 10 months.
“That was really one of the encouragements,” Lyndzee said. “We’re big family people so it was best for our family. It puts us in the same area. I come from a 2A high school. I’m a coach’s kid and I know what it takes to raise a family in a gym. It just makes it a lot easier when your family is all in the same area.”
The decision to leave Benton, though, was not an easy one. McConathy said she learned a lot from head coach Mary Ward and assistant Michelle Owens.
“They were quite the pair to work with,” she said. “They made me into a stronger person and helped me identify who I wanted to be as a coach.”
She and Ward’s relationship was enhanced because Ward was also a former collegiate player.
“I think what I’m going to miss a lot is the camaraderie,” McConathy said.
Benton won the District 1-4A championship last season with a young team. With some quality players expected to be added from Benton Middle School, the Lady Tigers have the potential to be strong for the foreseeable future.
“That was hard for me, because I looked at that and thought I could stay for those good years and stuff,” McConathy said. “But as a coach you want to be challenged, and I saw this challenge and I thought, these girls need me, too.”
McConathy said she’s more than happy to have the opportunity to build a program rather than simply take over one that’s been a consistent winner.
“As a coach, I literally can create whatever I want in this situation,” she said. “I guess that’s how you’d say it.”
— Russell Hedges, email@example.com