Danville loses girls' hoop coach to power
DANVILLE — Searching for coaches is a part of the job for athletic directors. Seldom, however, does an AD need to find a replacement coach knowing it means his daughter and two grandchildren will soon be farther away.
Danville's B.J. Luke finds himself in that position today.
His daughter, Ashley Clanton, resigned as the Vikings' girls' basketball coach for a similar position at Chicago's Mother McAuley High School. Clanton was hired on Tuesday and has camps in Chicago starting on Monday.
Though she had not applied for the job — to replace a coach who gave birth to twins earlier this year — Clanton said, "it was a matter of time" before she returned to the area where she was raised.
Her husband, Denny, took at job with G.E. in February and the family has only been together since on weekends.
"I have to do what's right for the family and get them back together," said Clanton, whose children are 5 and 2.
That doesn't means she's leaving Danville, where she has worked for five years, without reservations.
"The kids (in the basketball program) are like my kids and I feel like I'm abandoning my kids," Clanton said. "I enjoy teaching (physical education) and coaching at the school. It's a job where, when I wake up, I'm excited to go to.
"Debbie Hosch (co-worker) is one of the neatest people I've met. This is one of the toughest things I've had to do, but at the same time, I'm excited to get to McAuley."
Clanton will take over a McAuley program which was 18-10 last winter. In the last quarter century, the Mighty Macs have earned four trophies at state in girls' basketball, including one for the championship in 1991.
McAuley is an all-girls' school with an enrollment of 2,712.
The school's new head coach has name recognition in the Chicago area. The 1999 Waubonsie Valley graduate set the state record for career three-pointers (437) with a total that now ranks her second in the IHSA career record books.
Luke will start the search immediately for a girls' basketball coach for Danville. Clanton, 31, doesn't know who the person will be, but is confident about one thing.
"Dad will take care of my kids," Clanton said. "I know he will find someone who is right for the job."
Danville was 9-18 last year and 53-85 during Clanton's tenure.