One thing you quickly notice about Alicia Love, Ridgeview’s new head girls basketball coach, is her enthusiasm. Though this was the first interview she’s done as coach, she has no trouble discussing why she is excited about the team.
And her enthusiasm was noticed when she interviewed for the job, said Love, 29.
“They said, ‘You seem really excited and really pumped up to do this,’” she said. “That’s something I hope to bring to practice and to games if I can. Hopefully, the players will feed off that, as well.”
Love served as varsity assistant for the Ravens the last two seasons under former coach Shan Hartford, and was freshman and then junior varsity coach the two years before that, when Randi Davis was head coach. She is the cousin of former Ridgeview athlete Carissa Love.
Love graduated from Mountain View in Bend in 2008, helping the Cougars to their first playoff appearance as a sophomore and earning honorable mention all-Intermountain Conference as a senior. She went on to play a year in 2008-09 at Blue Mountain Community College in Pendleton, then in 2011-12 at Linn-Benton Community College in Albany, where she earned Northwest Athletic Conference all-star honors.
Love finished her playing career at Concordia in Portland in 2013-14, averaging five points in just under 13 minutes per game. But she had suffered three anterior cruciate ligament injuries by then.
“My body was just not having it,” she said. “My knee shut down on me.”
She had brief stints coaching high school sub-varsity or as a varsity assistant at Aloha and Milwaukie. Love said some players weren’t much younger than her.
“Even growing up, I knew I wanted to be a coach,” Love said. “I knew I wouldn’t be able to play forever, but basketball is the love of my life. I knew that if I got into coaching I could make a positive impact on some kids’ lives.”
That was apparent after Love was injured for her junior year at Mountain View. Instead of staying home, she returned to watch each practice and game and learned from other players.
“I always wanted to be involved, whether I was playing or not,” she said. “That was the mentality I was taught growing up.”
Love also recently coached an eighth-grade AAU team earlier this year with Three Peaks Performance in Bend. She said they had an interesting experience getting to learn from other coaches and players while at a tournament in California.
Love said she applied for the Ridgeview head coaching job after administrators weren’t able to find a new coach initially. Now that she has a chance to be a varsity head coach she wants her energy to be contagious. That includes getting more players out, so they can bring back a freshman team.
“It starts with getting our name out there with the community,” she said. “It’s getting the kids together, having open gyms, getting them to play without necessarily drilling them.”
The ultimate goal is to improve on the postseason appearances the last two seasons and reach the Class 5A state tournament in Corvallis, even if it doesn’t happen next season.
Love plans to have the Ravens play at a faster pace. She said she is preparing by watching instructional videos and will run full-court drills.
“Not just hanging out in the half-court, not just standing around,” she said.
While the Ravens had some “drama” in the 2018-19 season, that hasn’t been evident with Love as head coach, said Marley Sargent, an incoming junior point guard.
“It’s been really good,” Sargent said. “She’s starting off pretty disciplined, setting the tone for a better year. I feel like we’re meshing a lot better this year. She’s setting goals and letting us know before the season starts.”
In fact, Love is creating an atmosphere that reminds Sargent of Ridgeview’s 2019 state championship softball team, where Sargent was a second-team all-league infielder.
“On the softball team, there was no drama at all,” she said. “I think we want to bring that this year. We all have to have the same goal.”
That goal is playoff success, Sargent said.
“We have the talent to go deep into the playoffs,” she said. “We have the talent to win the IMC, we’ve just got to work together.”
— Reporter: 541-548-2186, email@example.com