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updated: 5/12/2011 9:53 PM

Coming home, Miller Kenny sees great opportunity

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Lake Park girls basketball players might care to think twice before challenging their new coach to a shooting contest.

Andrea Miller Kenny can do more than coach basketball.

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Miller Kenny was hired this week as Lake Park's girls basketball coach.

If long-time area basketball fans wonder, the answer is yes -- she's that Andrea Miller.

A 1992 Willowbrook graduate, Miller Kenny was a standout in basketball, softball and volleyball for the Warriors, named Daily Herald All-Area basketball captain and all-state in 1992. She averaged 23.5 points a game her senior year, and her 1,927 total points at the time were the most ever by a DuPage County girls basketball player.

Miller Kenny was among the inaugural class inducted into Willowbrook's Athletic Hall of Fame in 2010.

Miller Kenny went on to become the most decorated female athlete in Austin Peay University history, winning 11 letters in volleyball, basketball and softball, setting nine career softball records and owning the third-best all-time 3-point percentage in Austin Peay basketball history. She also was twice named GTE third team Academic All-America.

It's been a circuitous route back to DuPage County.

Miller Kenny coached Willowbrook sophomore basketball for two years from 1999-2001, then coached volleyball at Normal Community from 2004-07, leading the school to the Elite Eight in 2004 and 2005.

Miller Kenny went from there back to Tennessee for two years before returning to the area in 2009.

"Moving around a lot, I missed it here," she said. "To be back in familiar territory with family and friends, and getting back into coaching, is great. It's nice to be back home."

Miller Kenny hasn't coached since Normal Community, and Lake Park will be her first head basketball job. She took time away to be with her kids Calli, 5, and 4-year-old Hannah.

The time was right to get back on the sidelines.

"They're a little bit older now. I feel that they'll enjoy it more," she said. "I think I'm ready to get back into it."

Miller Kenny substituted at Lisle and York after returning to the area, so a permanent teaching job was her first and foremost concern. Upon applying for a math position at Lake Park, they also mentioned their basketball opening following Chris Fruehling's resignation.

Two teaching and two basketball interviews later, Miller Kenny found a good fit with the Roselle school just a short drive from her alma mater.

"It's a great opportunity to head coach in basketball, something I'm very passionate about," Miller Kenny said. "I enjoy coaching all three sports, but basketball was an opportunity that hadn't presented itself. It's a sport I dedicated a lot of time to and learned a lot of things that I can hopefully pass along."

Lake Park comes off a 13-15 season and will return a nice core led by All-Area forward Alexis Hahn. What stuck with Miller Kenny in the interviews was how committed Lake Park was to its basketball program and the faith it had in her to build on what's already established.

"I love teaching, but when you get to see those kids outside of the academic environment it's a lot of fun. There's a special connection," Miller Kenny said. "I feel I have a lot to offer. Talking to (Lake Park athletic director Pete) Schauer got me excited. I feel like Lake Park valued my experience a lot."

Miller Kenny doesn't expect her Lake Park girls to recognize her as anything more than "coach."

She laughed when asked if she plans to show off her own skills in practice.

"I'll probably pretty much stay on the sidelines," Miller Kenny said. "Maybe challenge them to a 3-point shootout."

jwelge@dailyherald.com

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