Dustin Oakley’s tenure as Southmont’s girls basketball coach is over.
The coach resigned earlier this week and has taken a new teaching job at Western Boone High School, where he will also be the junior varsity boys basketball coach.
Oakley said he wasn’t expecting to make a change, but an opportunity opened to teach and coach in the district he resides in and where his children attend school, and he jumped at it.
In four seasons Oakley posted a 41-50 record with two winning seasons after taking over for Susan McVay at the start of the 2016-17 season. Most recently, Oakley guided the Mounties to a 13-10 record this past season, including a seven game winning streak during January. The Mounties failed to win a game in the sectional in all four of Oakley’s seasons.
He felt like overall the commitment from his players helped lead to the Mounties success during his four-year tenure.
“Our expectations were met of the commitment,” Oakley said. “That is the thing that I was surprised about with a small school that wants their best athletes to play two or three sports and I’m very thankful that our girls were that committed and met all of our summer expectations and everything during the season. And I really feel like with the same staff for four years it’s why we were successful for the most part.”
Despite a 67-49 loss to Parke Heritage in the sectional opener in February, this past season was arguably Oakley’s best, led vocally by seniors Makayla Oppy, Claire Remley, Bailey and Hannah Thompson, and Emma Ward — the only class of players Oakley coached all four seasons.
“When you have that type of buy-in and so much unselfishness team play, you can still be successful,” he said. “We were 13-10 coming off a bad season. 13-10 as a varsity group and 17-2 as a JV group, I don’t know what else more you can say with a school like us. Definitely fell short of a sectional championship in my four years, we didn’t get that done. I have a terrible record with the sectional. We didn’t finish where we wanted to in conference, but when you have those two records and a group of girls that are super committed and a three-peat of county champs it was just an all-around a special group of girls and season overall.”
Southmont athletic director Aaron Charles says the Mounties are now looking for a coach to get them back competing for sectional championships.
“I’d like to thank coach Oakley and wish him the best,” Charles said. “but I think we are ready to move forward and our goal is to get back to where we were in 2014 and I think we have the right pieces from our freshmen all the way up to our seniors.”
The Mounties posted a 14-10 record under Chloe Allen and won an IHSAA Class 2A sectional title in 2014, before two-straight losing seasons under McVay. Oakley carried Southmont to a 13-10 record in his first season in 2016-17, but won just 15 games against 30 losses in his next two seasons. The Mounties have won eight sectional titles in 45 seasons, but none under Oakley.
While Oakley is excited to continue coaching basketball, he has no immediate plans to lead a varsity program.
“I really think it’s going to take a few years,” he said. “I’ve been doing this thing a long time, and I’ve been a head coach for six years leading a program, and it’s one of those things where I want to relax a little bit. I still want to be in the gym obviously, I want to develop players and have a relationship with players, but I don’t want the ultimate stress of being a head coach at that level. I just want to relax and enjoy my family more.”
Southmont posted the job vacancy on Wednesday, and Charles said Friday morning they had already received a number of interested applicants.
“We are looking for that person that is going to be able to get us back in that direction that we were a few years back,” he said. “We’ve had some good interest already, so we are trying to open it up a little bit and see what we can come out with. We’ve gotten some good interest and phone calls already. We have some good things going for our school and I think that makes it a pretty attractive job.”
In the 2019-20 school year, Southmont’s girls athletic teams won four sectional titles in seven opportunities in addition to facility upgrades that have taken shape at Southmont high school over the last few years.
The new Mountie coach will inherit returning seniors Sidney Veatch (11.4 points per game as a junior) and Addison Charles (8.2 points per game as a junior), along with junior Belle Miller, who averaged 8.9 points per game as a sophomore.