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Taking the Skyhawks reins

Matt Humphreys hopes to lead the Southridge girls back to the top
by: Miles Vance READY FOR FLIGHT — Matt Humphreys was hired last week to take over the head coaching position for Southridge High School’s storied girls basketball program. Humphreys most recently led the Glencoe varsity girls team for the five seasons.

BEAVERTON - Matt Humphreys may be new to the Southridge girls basketball program, but the Skyhawks are no mystery to Humphreys.

Humphreys, 33, was hired in late June as head coach of the Southridge girls basketball program, and he is hoping to quickly reestablish the success the Skyhawks enjoyed for most of the past decade. During the 10 seasons that former coach Mike Meek led the program, Southridge won five big-school state championships. Dave Immel served as interim coach for the 2010-11 season and led the injury-riddled Skyhawks to a fourth-place finish in league and within one game of another state tournament berth.

'I reached out to some people when I first got to Oregon, and Mike (Meek) was one of them. I have a lot of respect for him,' Humphreys said. 'I want to see what Mike built continue.'

Humphreys is a native of Southern California and UC Irvine graduate who most recently led the Glencoe varsity team for the past five seasons. His Crimson Tide teams went 76-59 (a .562 winning percentage) over those five years, reaching the Class 5A state tournament in Humphreys' first season, and making the state playoffs in four of those years.

As good as things had been at Glencoe, though, he is excited for the opportunities that lay ahead at Southridge.

'Glencoe was great, the people were great and the kids were great, but I live in the Southridge community and being able to get home in four minutes is a good deal,' he said. 'I think the (varsity) team will be very competitive next year. They're so hungry to compete for it all again.'

Indeed, it is the commitment of the program's returning players that has really caught Humphreys' attention.

'The girls feel a sense of responsibility to the program,' Humphreys said. 'Most of them were freshmen on the last championship team, and Jordyn Peacock was a sophomore, and they feel a sense of responsibility to that. They're not arrogant. They're hungry and they want to work.'

Southridge had nine underclassmen on its 2010-11 roster, and 10 underclassmen who played in at least one of the Skyhawks' two playoff games.

'The program is in very good shape,' said Humphreys who was also hired Monday to teach math at Southridge. 'I've taken the scope of it, from top to bottom, since I was hired and it's in good shape.'

Humphreys, who will be assisted by Kyle Shepard and Bob Hartman, said he plans to continue much of the high-pressure, defensive-oriented play that were trademarks of Meek, and of another Humphreys mentor, former Westview coach Mark Neffendorf.

'I'm going to try and do a lot of the same things they did. We'll pressure and play inside-out basketball, and we'll play a fast-paced game created by our defense,' Humphreys said. 'The transition has been easy because of (the similarity between his and Meek's styles). It's been easy to walk in without having to change a lot.'

Humphreys, who offered thanks to Southridge Athletic Director Bryan Sorenson and Principal Todd Corsetti, said he was also looking forward to coaching in the Metro League.

' It's the toughest league in Oregon. I don't think there's a night off, ever,' he said.

And now, he's hoping to ensure that the Skyhawks are ready for that challenge.