Oct. 7, 2021 — After Ashlee Cole stepped down as Siuslaw Viking girls head basketball coach, Athletic Director Chris Johnson searched high and low for her replacement. When it was all said and done, he found a new coach right here at home.
On Oct. 6, Johnson announced the hiring of Aaron McNeill as the new head coach. This is McNeill’s second run as Siuslaw girl’s coach. He was at the helm the last time the Vikings reached the postseason, in 2011, a loss to Madras in the first round of the state playoffs after beating Hidden Valley in a play in game.
McNeill has 17 years of basketball coaching experience at the high school level, all at Siuslaw. He coached junior varsity boys for the first 12 years of his coaching career then took over the girls program. He led the SHS girls for five years, two of which they reached postseason play. McNeill then “retired” from coaching to spend more time with his family and to coach his daughter’s Boys & Girls Club team. His retirement also included, most recently, a stint coaching eighth-grade girls basketball at Siuslaw Middle School.
McNeill’s goals for his team are simple: get better every day.
“I believe it is extremely important to work hard and make improvements every day, with the ultimate goal of being a much better team at the end of the season than we were at the start,” said McNeill. “If we continue to work hard and improve as individuals and a team, wins will come.”
McNeill has spent his entire teaching career at Siuslaw. This year marks his twenty-seventh year teaching math at the high school in Florence.
“Despite the physical and mental demands required to play basketball at a competitive level, playing basketball should be enjoyable. I hope to make playing the game of basketball enjoyable for the student-athletes. As a teacher and coach, I feel strongly that our student-athletes should represent themselves, their teammates, SHS and the Florence community with class and respect,” the coach said.
With McNiell, the Siuslaw Vikings will have a coach that will cherish this opportunity because he loves the sport he will be teaching.
“I truly love the sport of basketball in all aspects — as a player, coach and spectator,” he said. “I am a very competitive person and look forward to the competitive aspect of coaching. I have also missed the ‘teaching’ part of coaching at the high school level. I am excited to get back in the gym and coach a group of young ladies that are eager to work hard, improve and win some basketball games along the way.”
The Siuslaw girls basketball season tips off Dec. 1 when the Vikings welcome the Bandon Tigers to Glenn Butler Court at 5:45 p.m.