Titan b-ball coach switches sides, takes position with Lady Celts

By ERIC A. HOWALD Of the Keizertimes When the McNary High School girls varsity basketball team went looking for a new head coach, they found the man for the job working for their arch rival. Beginning with the 2012-13 school year, Paul Pickerell, a longtime assistant coach for the West Salem High School Titans, will take the reins of the Celtic program. “Marlo Cleary and Molly Gehley set it up as a consistent and competitive program,” Pickerell said. “I want the team to contend for the CVC title every year and be in the top 10 that goes to play in the Rose Garden.” Pickerell is no stranger to the McNary gym. He was an assistant coach to Cleary in 2001-02 before taking a post at West Salem for the past decade. Pickerell himself is a former player for the South Salem Saxons, but it was playing and coaching on an Air Force base in Germany where he developed a love for the game. “That was where I really learned to appreciate it,” he said. He became more invested in the women’s side of the game watching his wife play college ball. “They played with a more fundamental style of the game that wasn’t as reliant on athleticism and that fit my style of the game, too,” Pickerell said. When his Titan daughter determined she wasn’t going to play...

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