MARION — Brian O’Donnell has done the rebuilding thing before. So this ought to seem mild.
O’Donnell, who led the Springville High School girls’ basketball program from obscurity to two trips to the state finals, has been hired as the coach at Marion.
Corby Laube, athletics director at Marion, announced the hiring Thursday night.
“We are very excited to have Coach O’Donnell as our new coach,” Laube said in a statement. ”His coaching accomplishments are outstanding, but we were even more impressed with the type of person he is. He is a coach of high character who teaches more than just the game of basketball.”
O’Donnell, 35, will continue to teach high school social studies at Springville.
“I love the kids and the staff (at Springville),” he said Friday morning. “I just think this is a good opportunity and a good challenge for me. It’s a good time to try something new and see how it will go.”
O’Donnell has a 10-year record of 129-109, including 1-42 in his first two years (1-20 at Storm Lake St. Mary’s, 0-22 in his first year at Springville.
His seventh year at Springville, the Orioles won the Class 1A state championship. They returned to the final in 2009, falling a point shot to Ackley AGWSR.
The nucleus of that glory — Katie Eiben, Sarah Davidson, Callie Kloubec and Carly Martin were among 10 seniors in 2009 — graduated, and the Orioles slid to 8-15 last winter.
He inherits a program that will be similarly gutted by graduation. All-staters Morgan Paige and Brittany Fish are among those that exit after a run that included three league titles and two state-tournament appearances in the last three years.
Marion was 83-14 in the past four years, 23-2 last season.
Sherryl Gaffney-Paige — Morgan’s mother — resigned following a state-quarterfinal loss to eventual 3A champion Sioux City Heelan. Morgan has signed to play at the University of Wisconsin; her son, Marcus, is an all-state sophomore at Linn-Mar.
“I’m very appreciative of everyone I’ve met at Marion, and that includes Sherryl,” O’Donnell said. “There are some really good things going on here, and I’m going to try to keep it going.”
O’Donnell hopes to reload around senior-to-be Kristin Kramer. The JV and freshman teams at Marion were solid last year.
“My hope is to put a very productive team out there,” O’Donnell said. “If we do things the right way, good things will happen.”