Randy Cornwell has changed little in appearance from when he quarterbacked Central Valley’s unbeaten football team and was a guard on the state’s fifth-best basketball team.
And 21 years later, the son of Becker Buick vice president Dale and Georgia Cornwell still is involved in sports.
Cornwell was on the bench at West Valley Friday evening, coaching Colville’s girls to a 60-57 victory.
This is his second year at the helm of the Colville program after spending 15 years coaching boys teams in Montana.
A poor economy in Troy, about 135 miles from Spokane, caused by the mining and logging downturn forced Cornwell’s decision to change jobs.
He had an offer in Polson but the pay cut would have been too great. He inquired about the vacant boys position at Colville when Paul Dumas resigned. It subsequently was filled from within.
“My dad’s secretary told me about the job, I applied but was told Bill (Pilgeram) would get it,” said Cornwell. “Paul called back and said the girls job was open.”
Cornwell accepted, in part to get closer to home. It has made it easier for his parents to follow Cornwell’s team even if the travel still is arduous.
“It was an adjustment,” said Cornwell of his switch from boys to girls basketball.
Cornwell learned that boys basketball players do things differently than girls and changed accordingly.
“The big thing is guys can go over a defender,” said Cornwell. “Girls need space. I was looking for ways to create that space.”
Instead of “slugging it out” with an opponent, Colville created ways with its speed and spacing to allow for uncontested shots and make it easier for the girls to score.
That essentially is what happened during victories last weekend over West and East Valley that put Colville into second place in the Frontier League.
At WV, the Eagles would play sound defense for 25 seconds of the 30-second clock before Colville would get an open shot.
Thus, WV was forced to play catchup for much of the game. A stretch late in the third quarter when Colville built a nine-point lead ultimately was too much to overcome.
Cornwell’s son is a senior at Colville but he has a daughter coming up and has no plans to quit coaching girls basketball for the boys again.
“I enjoyed my 15 years in Montana,” he said. “This year I’m having fun.”