Gresham hires Tiffanie Ferguson as new girls coach

Ferguson was assistant for 17 years

Greg Bates Leader Correspondent

After 17 years as the assistant coach of the Gresham Community High School girls basketball team, Tiffanie Ferguson is stepping into the head position.

She’s excited for her new opportunity.

“I am hoping that I can carry over the things I have learned as an assistant in to my new role as head coach,” said Ferguson, who has never been a head coach before. “I’ve learned many different offenses, defenses, presses, press breaks, out of bounds plays and drills. I will continue to use some of them and add some new ones, too.”

Ferguson, who takes over for Vaughn Miller, inherits a program that struggled last season with a 1-21 record. The Wildcats lost their final 16 games of the season after scoring their only win against Tigerton, 50-30, on Dec. 12.

Gresham averaged just 33.6 points per game and surrendered 57 points to its opponents.

“Part of my philosophy will be to focus on the fundamentals,” Ferguson said. “I’m not going to focus too much on a ‘system’ this season. I want to run a system around the girls, not the girls around a system. I want to help the girls gain confidence in themselves. I hope to improve them individually and overall build a stronger, more conditioned team. I hope to have a winning season and much of that will be about confidence, teamwork and not forgetting to have fun. I want to keep practices flowing and interesting. I don’t like too much down time. Our gym time is limited in Gresham.”

Gresham graduated just two players from a season ago and will return its top four scorers. Tiana Ferguson, the coach’s daughter, was the leading scorer at 7.8 points per game. Meckenzie Roe and MaKayla Belongia each averaged 5.5 points per contest.

The team graduated its jack-of-all-trades, Mackenzie Hoffman. She led the team in rebounds (5.3), assists (2.6), steals (1.6) and blocks (0.7), and chipped in 4.9 points per game.

Coach Ferguson can’t wait to get started working with her girls. However, she knows she has to keep a healthy balance of not working them too hard and keeping them excited about the game.

“Basketball is a long season and I have to make sure the girls don’t get burnt out or bored,” Ferguson said. “Coaching at a small school brings on some challenges. One is that it seems the smaller schools struggle with numbers. These girls are also spread pretty thin. They have full schedules and are involved in many other school activities.”

Having coached in the Gresham program for 17 years, Ferguson knows the players well and in turn they know her back. Hopefully that translates to success on the court.

“I feel that the girls know my personality and what I expect of them,” Ferguson said. “Hopefully, I can get them to see their true potential and get them to love the game as much as I do.”