Central Catholic head girls basketball coach Debbie Coffman works with her team in a timeout of their State Farm Holiday Classic Small School Girls championship game against Rochester on Dec. 29 at Shirk Center. The Saints went on to win, 45-33.

BLOOMINGTON — Debbie Coffman has all the numbers. In 21 seasons, the Central Catholic High School girls basketball coach has built a 495-136 record and guided the Saints to a state championship.

She also has been on the bench for two state runner-up finishes and a third place.

The Positive Coaching Alliance takes such things into account. Yet, the California-based organization places more value on how a program is run than the titles and trophies it secures.

Coffman measures up in that regard as well.

On Wednesday, the PCA named Coffman among 50 recipients of the National Double-Goal Coach Award. She is the second Saints' coach to be selected, joining soccer coach Reza Ghasemi in 2018.

"It's one of those things where in my phone interview (with the PCA) they talk about highlights of your coaching career," Coffman said. "It's not just the wins and losses or the state championship or the state tournaments.

"It's about having a positive influence on the kids and some of the things we've done in our program to promote kids and their families. We've had Mother-Daughter Nights and Father-Daughter Nights and things like that to try to make it a positive experience. It's about more than Xs and Os."

Coffman led the Saints to the Class 2A state title in 2010 and second-place finishes in 2011 and 2017. Central also was third in 2A in 2015, and this year won its first Class 3A regional title during a 25-8 season.

"It's a great group of girls we've had over the years," she said. "They buy into being part of a program and a family. It makes the job fun and makes you want to come back every year.

"I've had a great support system with my assistant, Mendy (Smith), being with me all 21 years. I like to share my accomplishments with her because she has helped do a lot of things to be a positive influence on our players."

Coffman was nominated by Central athletic director Hud Venerable. The 50 honorees were chosen from among nearly 800 nominees nationwide.

"Debbie is a passionate coach who cares about her players off the court as well as on the court," Venerable said. "She's proven to be one of the top coaches in the state of Illinois over the course of her career.

"Her record and accomplishments speak for themselves. I think this is a really nice way for the PCA to look at her career and say, 'We're very, very impressed.' She is everything they're looking for with this award."

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Contact Randy Kindred at (309) 820-3402. Follow him on Twitter: @pg_kindred


Sports Editor

Sports editor for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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