Iola native tapped to lead Indy women

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Sports

April 2, 2013 - 12:00 AM

INDEPENDENCE — Iola native Leslie Crane, whose family roots in the coaching profession run deep, has a new job.
Crane has been hired as head women’s basketball coach at Independence Community College.
She replaces Tony Turner, who moves from the women’s program to take the reins of Independence’s men.
She worked the past season as an assistant under Turner, and called the head coaching position “a good fit.”
“Coach Turner did a great job,” Crane said. “This is a great opportunity for me. Tony rebuilt this program from scratch. It’s up to me to expand upon what he’s built.”
Crane, the daughter of long-time Allen Community College men’s basketball coach Neil Crane, has 25 years of her own in the coaching business.
Before joining ICC as an assistant, she coached at Western Illinois University for 13 years, becoming the winningest coach in school history with 192 wins. She was a three-time Summit League coach of the year and guided her program to four straight league titles from 2003 through 2006. She also produced the five single winningest seasons in Western Illinois history.
She was let go after the 2010-11 season following an 8-21 record.
She worked for a year as a consultant at Sport Tours International as a tournament director.
Prior to her stint at Western Illinois, Crane worked as an asisstant women’s coach and recruiting coordinator at the University of Missouri. Before that, she was a head women’s coach at Kansas City, Kan., Community College, where she guided the Blue Devils to the 1997 Region VI champions. Her KCK teams had a combined 177-17 record in four years.
She also was a successful high school coach at Turner High School in Kansas City and Circle High School in Towanda. Her Turner squad earned a state playoff berth in 1992.
 “Twenty-five years in the coaching business has taught me that win or lose, the key is to surround yourself with good people,” she said. “We have that here at Independence.”
The Pirates went 16-15 in 2012-13. They lost in the first round of the NJCAA Division II playoffs to second-ranked Johnson County.

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