orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

July 23, 2013

OHS names new Lady Bobcats’ head coach

Gabriel Pruett
The Orange Leader

ORANGEFIELD — Orangefield Athletic Director Josh Smalley has found his man to coach his Lady Bobcats basketball team.

Dennis “Denny” Downing will take over the position.

Downing’s move to the high school level came as a surprise even to Smalley as Downing’s last job was at the University of Texas-Pan American. Smalley was even surprised, yet grateful, to even get an email from Downing.

“At first I was surprised,” Smalley said. “I tried to figure out why a college coach would want to come to a 3A high school team. Every talk with him and reference I called went positive. He is going to be a great addition.”

Downing said Orangefield’s tradition in girls basketball was one of the major reasons he is headed to Orangefield High School.

“I wanted to go somewhere where the team had support,” Downing said. “In the past we had to create interest. That was not the case in Orangefield. I feel very fortunate they chose me. I wanted to go somewhere where the school wanted me and I was not some novelty. That is exactly how Orangefield made me feel.”

Downing had great success at UTPA. He went 51-68, the winningnest four-year stretch in school history.

Downing takes over after Orangefield graduate and former basketball star Katie Sanders left after one season to become the middle school coordinator in Pflugerville. Her Bobcats went 16-13 last year and lost in the second round to Houston Yates.

Former Lamar Univeristy girls coach Larry Tidwell later replaced Downing at UTPA.