A former Winslow High School outstanding player, and most recently the freshman, jayvee and assistant varsity coach Elisha Johns-Aberle will direct the Northland Pioneer College Lady Golden Eagles basketball team next season.
"I am very excited to be at NPC," said Johns-Aberle, "and am looking forward to meeting and working with the NPC community and Golden Eagle basketball fans. My goal is to build a great program at NPC and to make a big impact on student athletes to help them succeed academically and in basketball."
Expect an "up tempo, run-and-gun" style of play under Johns-Aberle's mentorship. "Women's basketball has changed tremendously to a more competitive style of play which I feel makes it more exciting to watch," she said. Hired late in the recruiting season, Johns-Aberle is looking for student athletes from all over the area to come play at NPC. Last season's assistant coach Claude Bakurza will return in that role next season under Johns-Aberle.
Only three players from last year's squad have announced plans to return - Lavina Begay from Navajo, N.M.; Devona Bird from Santo Domingo/Bernalillo, N.M.; and Cortasha Begaye from Ft. Defiance. Both Begay and Begaye graduated from Holbrook High, the home court for the Golden Eagles.
Coach Johns-Aberle was born in Winslow and was raised in Forest Lake on the Navajo Nation. An outstanding student-athlete while attending Winslow high School, Johns-Aberle played on back-to-back state championship teams her junior and senior years, 1989 and 1990. She was a Street and Smith All American, Parade All-American Honorable Mention, All-Conference and Player of the Year her junior and senior years and was listed in Who's Who Among American High School Students. Her senior season, she was named to the North All-Star team, was the Arizona Republic's Co-Player of the Year and was among the top high school girls basketball players. She was the MVP and All-Tournament selection for several tournaments, the MVP for the 1989 Tara Van DaVeer Camp, and made the All-State teams her 1ast two prep seasons. Johns Aberle holds the Winslow school records for most points scored in a single game and the highest freethrow percentage. Her state record of 8 three-pointers in a single contest has only recently been broken.
Coach Johns-Eberle played collegiate ball at Divisions 1 San Diego (California) State University, starting both years. She was a member of the top five recruiting classes for NCAA women's basketball her freshman season. After playing collegiately, Johns-Aberle returned to her prep alma mater to assist Coach Don Petranovich in 1994. She recently completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and is working on a second bachelor's degree in physical education and health from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff.
She has been married to Todd Aberle, a Burlington Northern-Santa Fe employee, for the past eight years. They have two sons, David, 7, and Nicholas 3. Spending time with her family is her first love, right behind playing basketball, and coaching and working with youth.
The Lady Eagles open the 2000-2001 Arizona Community Co1lege Athletic Conference (ACCAC) season Saturday, Nov. 18, on the road at Arizona Western in Yuma, with the home conference opener on Tuesday, Nov. 21, against Glendale Community College. "We are still working on the pre-conference schedule," noted the new head coach.