Jackson names new girls basketball coach

Thursday, April 14, 2011
Jackson's players react to a basket during the fourth quarter of the Class 5 District 1 title game in February. Jackson will have a new girls basketball coach next season. (Kristin Eberts)

Tyler Abernathy is ready for the challenge of leading his own program.

The 28-year-old who has worked as an assistant coach for the last six years is the new Jackson girls basketball coach.

"I've got to learn a lot from coach [Darrin] Scott at Jackson and coach [Joel] Roth at Perryville while I was there," Abernathy said. "But taking kind of what I've learned from them and taking some of the thoughts I've had and being able to implement them into my own system is going to be nice. It will be a challenge."

Abernathy replaces Sheila Haertling, who resigned March 22.

Abernathy has served as an assistant coach for the Jackson boys basketball team since the 2007-08 season. He's also been an assistant volleyball coach, a position he'll continue to fill.

The Perryville High School graduate was the volleyball coach and an assistant coach for the boys basketball team at his alma mater for the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons.

He said his time at Jackson will make the transition from Haertling to him a smooth one.

"I've got to know the girls through being in the gym, being in the weight room, had a lot of them in class," he said. "So being familiar with each other is going to go over a little easier because I've been there. There definitely will be some challenges when you talk about the styles of the game and things like that."

Abernathy, who teaches seventh-grade health at the middle school in Jackson, said he doesn't anticipate switching from coaching boys basketball players to girls basketball players being a problem because of his time as a volleyball assistant. But he knows he'll have his work cut out for him in the early going.

"One thing I do think will be a challenge is getting to know our opponents on the schedule," he said. "One thing with coaching boys basketball there for four years, I've gotten to know our schedule, our opponents and what they do. Girls are different, knowing what Cape does, what Poplar Bluff does, the ins and outs of your schedule."

The Indians put together two consecutive winning seasons under Haertling, who led Jackson to the Class 5 District 1 title game this past season. She compiled a 46-27 record during her three seasons.

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