Sports

Krueger named TJ hoop coach

By CASEY OLSON

Sports editor

The new head of the Thomas Jefferson girls basketball program is a familiar face around the Raiders’ gym.

Jerry Krueger was officially given the title of Raider coach Thursday after a short application process. Former coach Mike Grady resigned last month to take over as Jefferson’s athletic director. Krueger has been the girls and boys coach at Kilo Middle School, which feeds into Jefferson, for the past six years and also was the head coach at Renton High School for three years from 1994-97.

“It is never going to be a perfect transition. Especially happening this late.” Krueger said. “But, personally, I think this will be the smoothest possible transition. It will be a lot easier than somebody just walking in who didn’t know anybody.”

Krueger categorizes taking over the Raider program as a perfect situation for him. He lives close to the school and has a great relationship with Grady, who took Jefferson to the Class 4A state tournament the last two years.

“I think Mike and I have a mutual respect for each other,” he said. “He has shown a lot of interest in the Kilo program and would come down and watch games. I let him know that I was interested and was lucky enough to get the job.”

During his tenure at Kilo, his teams won three junior high district championships and while at Renton he was named Seamount League Coach of the Year.

“He is very qualified and we are lucky and excited to have him at Thomas Jefferson High School,” Grady said.

“I wasn’t out looking for a high school coaching job,” Krueger said. “But this was just too good to pass up. I’ve had most of the kids (at Kilo) in my program and have a relationship with them. It is a well-respected program and they have a good, strong tradition underway.”

Not much is going to change, as far as playing style goes, when the Raiders take the court in the winter. Krueger is a strong believer in man-to-man defense and a crisp executing offense.

“I want to make our opponents beat us,” he said.

Krueger will not only be giving up his duties as the girls coach at Kilo, but also will not be coaching the boys. He will, however, remain teaching at Kilo in the physical education department and as the school’s athletic director.

“I really enjoy coaching girls,” Krueger said. “They are very enthusiastic, not that the boys aren’t. But you don’t have some of the attitudes with the girls.”

The Raiders lost their entire starting lineup from a season ago to graduation, which will add a nice challenge to Krueger’s first year.

“The league won’t be expecting a lot from us,” he said. “But we have some players that can be really competitive and make some noise. It will be fun.”

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565, sports@fedwaymirror.com

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