JUNIOR COLLEGE BASKETBALL

KC's Nimz leaving for UT-Rio Grande Valley

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It appears Kilgore College will be in the market for a new women’s head basketball coach.

Anna Nimz, who led the Lady Rangers to the Region XIV Conference title game the last two seasons, has been named the associate head coach of women’s basketball at the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley in Edinburg, according to the UT-RGV website.

Nimz, who coached at KC for three seasons, confirmed her departure for UT-RGV in an e-mail to the News Herald Friday morning.

UT-RGV released a statement, which included quotes from both Nimz and UT-RGV head coach Lane Lord.

“I’m excited for the opportunity to be a part of an institution that is continuously moving forward to becoming one of the top schools in the WAC,” Nimz said in the release. “I’m excited to work with coach Lord again, to work with the staff here, and to grow professionally.”

The WAC to which Nimz referred is the Western Athletic Conference, in which UT-RGV competes.

“Anna had been a head coach for eight years at the junior college level in Kansas and Texas, including these last three years at Kilgore,” Lord said, in the statement. “I’ve known Anna for 15 or 20 years. When she was a high school player in Kansas, I actually coached her in an all-star game. She was on my staff at Pittsburg State for two years. She’s a great competitor and recruiter. Her Texas connections will be important as we’re recruiting Texas kids first, particularly South Texas.”

Nimz is leaving KC, apparently, but she was fantastic during her tenure.

In 2014-15, the season prior to Nimz’s arrival, the Lady Rangers were down – they finished 7-20, 4-16 in conference play, with no all-conference players and no berth in the RXIV tournament. And the tournament takes the top eight teams in the standings.

The next fall, KC hired Nimz from Labette (Kan.) Community College, where she had been head women’s basketball coach and assistant athletic director. Nimx brought energy, and made an immediate impact – the Lady Rangers finished 16-14, and 9-11 in conference play.

In 2016-17, the Lady Rangers took a big step. They leapt to 21 wins, reached the conference title game, and boasted co-freshman of the year Jade Thurmon. Thurmon and Lyrik Williams were named all-region and all-conference, and Richelle Velez was all-conference honorable mention.

And this past season, 2017-18, the Lady Rangers again got back to the conference’s title game (lost there to Tyler), knocked off longtime conference powerhouse Trinity Valley along the way, and Thurmon was the nation’s leading scorer. She was a first-team NJCAA All-American and region most valuable player. Danielle Meador and Alexus Moore were academic All-Americans.

Off the court, Nimz won KC’s outstanding employee award.

Of the coaches the Lady Rangers have had since the departure of legendary coach Evelyn Blalock, Nimz was by far the most successful on the court.

KC athletic director Jimmy Rieves told the News Herald Friday morning that interviews are already being scheduled for candidates to replace Nimz and become the sixth coach in Lady Rangers' history.

Rieves said he would like to have a new coach in place by July 1.

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