LATTA — Bruce Plunk thinks that being named the 2019 Ada News All-Area Girls Basketball Coach of the Year is an honor because of present and historical reasons.
Plunk received the 2018-19 honor for guiding the Latta Lady Panthers into the Class 2A state semifinals and a 26-5 record.
“I feel like this is an honor. There are really good coaches in the area,” said Plunk. “You go look back and look at their pedigrees. There are many, many teams who have good coaches. This is a real honor.”
This is the second time that Plunk has won the award since being the Latta head coach and the fifth time overall.
“To win the award and be up there with the likes of Bertha Teague, Bill Johnson and Christie Jennings, along with Jeff Maloy and Rick Johnston, is an honor,” Plunk said. “There are a lot of great coaches within 50 miles of Ada in the hall of fame.”
Plunk considers his players a critical factor in achieving this award.
“Good players make this possible,” said Plunk. “I’ve been blessed to have really good players. You get to this point because of the kids. It’s all about how the kids performed. I’ve been in a good place with good kids. This happened because of the people around me.”
One of those is Clay Punk, Bruce’s assistant coach and son, who played a role in the Lady Panthers’ success this past season. Clay was recently named the OGBCA’s East Central Assistant Coach of the Year.
“He was as much a part of our run (to state) as anyone. He’s truly an asset,” Plunk said. “He likes to break down film, and he was selected as assistant coach of the year for the southeast region of the state. The school is so supportive. We wouldn’t be where we are without them.”
In registering the impressive season, Bruce Plunk saw one of his players, Emma Epperly, earn Oklahoma Girls Basketball Coaches Association All-State honors. Epperly and her teammate and sharpshooter, Shelby Garrett have signed and will continue their careers together at Oklahoma Christian in 2019-20.