By John Balch
The Dierks School Board voted last week to hire a former Kirby Lady Trojan to head up the girls basketball program for the 2017-2018 season.
Ali Whisenhunt, 22, a 2013 Kirby High School graduate and soon-to-be graduate of Henderson State University, was hired by unanimous vote during the board’s April 11 meeting.
Whisenhunt did her student coaching at Dierks last season alongside Coach Kevin Alexander.
Whisenhunt will graduate from HSU May 12 with a degree in physical education and a teacher certification in life science. She is the daughter of David and Kristi Whisenhunt of Kirby and the younger sister of Mandy Ott, a Glenwood doctor, and Kay Kinard, a teacher at Glenwood Primary School.
Whisenhunt said she has never coached for a school team but has coached Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) basketball for the past five years and helped with numerous camps over the years.
She added that she started every basketball game at Kirby since seventh grade and was a freshman point guard the year the Lady Trojans won the state title. Whisenhunt also earned All-State, All-Tournament and All-District post-season honors every season since ninth grade.
“I feel like I know the game pretty good,” Whisenhunt said Monday morning.
Whisenhunt said she has received tremendous support from the Dierks school and community since she arrived for her internship last season.
“I’ve been humbled by the amount of support I’ve received and the love I’ve felt in the last few months from the people in this community,” she shared in a Facebook post. “I’ve felt at home since the first day I stepped through the door. I take on this title knowing my purpose is far greater than simply training teams to win ballgames; we are developing successful young women. Coaching has always been my calling, and I’ll give all I’ve got every single day because these girls deserve it.”