CADILLAC — A quarter-century of coaching experience has taken another step for Mike McLaurin.
The longtime Cadillac educator and coach has been named as the new girls varsity basketball coach at Cadillac High School, beginning with the 2018-19 season.
The move, approved at a school board meeting Monday night, comes after Mary Kaye Johns' contract was not renewed after the 2017-18 season.
McLaurin, currently the Dean of Students at Mackinaw Trail Middle School, is looking forward to working with the Vikings' program.
"After 25 years in education, stepping into this, I am excited," he said. "I am excited to put a staff together and there are some great players in the system.
"It's going to be a lot of fun to watch them progress in the next two or three years and see what we have. I want to thank (athletic director) Fred Bryant for his support and I look forward to working with him in building the girls basketball program. That will include sharing ideas and putting together a coaching staff. I also look forward to sharing ideas with the coaches of the boys high school program."
McLaurin brings 25 years of experience to the position. He's coached boys and girls basketball, football, softball and currently works with girls soccer, as well.
He jumped right in last week with the Cadillac Summer Basketball Camp and likes what he sees.
"It's been a lot of fun getting to see what we have coming up from the third through fifth grade and then in the junior high with our sixth, seventh and eighth-grade kids," McLaurin said. "Our high school girls have been helping out with the camp and it's been a lot of fun to see their interest and desire to get better at basketball.
"I want to praise how hard everyone has worked this week to improve their fundamental skills of basketball. They were also very attentive to team defense and team offense instruction."
After the MHSAA-mandated "dead period" next week, McLaurin has some summer practices, scrimmages a camp for the high school girls to resume instruction before winter practice officially begins on Nov. 12.
"The focus right now is fundamentals," McLaurin said. "We want to be better at passing the ball, better a dribbling and working better as a team.
"My hope is that we apply a lot more defensive pressure to make teams work harder to get their shots. At the same time, I'd like to get out in transition a little bit to try and get some easy baskets. That all comes back to playing great defense and being a great rebounding team."
Bryant, who recommended McLaurin be hired, likes what he brings.
"I think what Mike brings is some stability, calmness and the girls feel very comfortable around him," Bryant said. "Having talked to a number of those girls, they've known him for quite a long time through various other means whether it be school or other sports.
"Mike is a guy that has a very good background when it comes to athletics. He understands kids and he understands parents. I think that is a real key part when it comes to filling this position is that someone would come in and take the reigns and make sure things were taken care of."