Schuck's Clipboard

Blue Devils' Harmann gets chance to run his own program

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Jul. 22, 2018 12:01 am

No one is going to suggest Chris Harmann was the most prolific 3-point shooter on the Quincy High School boys basketball team his senior season.

He was the only perfect one.

Harmann went 6 for 6 from 3-point range during the 2002-03 season, helping the Blue Devils win 21 games and a Class AA regional title. He was that team's bulldog defensively and some occasional muscle when teams tried to rough up Marcus Medsker and Bryce Bushmeyer.

Moreso, he was a student of the game. Harmann studied the intricacies of the ball press and put that to good use in a decade of coaching in the QHS system. He spent six seasons coaching under Sean Taylor, and the past four seasons, he has been the head sophomore coach under Andy Douglas.

Now it's time for Harmann to run his own program.

Harmann accepted an offer to become the boys basketball coach at Dixon, a Class 3A school that won a regional title with a 17-16 record last season, and the Dixon school board approved his hiring at Wednesday's monthly meeting. The Dukes have enjoyed five straight winning seasons and return the top three scorers from last year's team, which beat rival Rock Falls for the regional title.

"It's exciting," Harmann said. "I'm stepping in to a good spot."

Harmann admitted it's tough to leave Quincy because he's become so rooted in both the basketball community and the city itself, but the opportunity to run his own program at a school with an athletic department on the rise was too good to pass up.

It leaves a sizable void in the QHS coaching staff. Not only was Harmann the head sophomore coach, but he played a role in organizing the Lil' Devils Basketball Association and was involved with summer workouts. The reaction from the Blue Devils on social media showed how much they appreciated his time and effort.

Douglas will begin the process of finding a new sophomore coach immediately, but he knows those will be big shoes to fill. Varsity assistant coach Tom Lepper and sophomore assistant Doug Bruner remain on staff.


Hawks taking interest in WB6 talent

The Quincy University men's basketball program hasn't had a player from the Western Big Six Conference on the roster since Galesburg's Ryan Walker graduated following the 2006-07 season.

That could change soon.

Moline senior swingman Deonte Billups and Rock Island point guard JaMir Price both have confirmed on social media they have received scholarship offers from the Hawks.

The QU coaching staff is not allowed under NCAA rules to talk about recruits until they sign a national letter of intent with the program.

Could that happen with either Billups or Price? Only time will tell, but QU coach Ryan Hellenthal is making an early push to land the All-WB6 standouts.

Billups was a second-team Illinois Basketball Coaches Association all-state selection last season when he averaged 15.9 points and 6.8 rebounds for a team that reached the Class 4A sectionals. He has offers from Sioux Falls University, Winona State and McKendree.

Price was an honorable mention all-stater last season when he averaged 14.5 points and 3.2 assists per game. He also has an offer from Lewis University.

QU actively pursued QHS point guard Aaron Shoot last season with Hellenthal and his staff attending nearly every QHS home game and several road games.

Shoot, an All-WB6 selection, chose not to play basketball in college and is attending the University of Kansas to study petroleum engineering.


Gengenbacher, Rief on award list

University of San Diego volleyball player Kristen Gengenbacher and Quincy University soccer player Mackenzie Rief are among the 581 college student-athletes nominated for the NCAA Woman of the Year.

There were 131 Division II athletes nominated.

The award, presented annually since 1991, honors graduating female college athletes who have exhausted their eligibility and distinguished themselves in academics, athletics, service and leadership throughout their collegiate careers.

Gengenbacher, a Quincy Notre Dame graduate, led the Toreros to their 10th conference title in program history last fall and earned AVCA All-America honors, becoming the second Torero setter in program history to earn the recognition.

Gengenbacher also was honored for her work in the classroom, being named to the WCC All-Academic Team and to the CoSIDA Academic All-District Team.

She graduated in May as a double-major in communication studies and theology and religious studies. Gengenbacher is continuing her education at the University Washington as she pursues a master's degree and will play for the Huskies' beach volleyball team.

Rief, a St. Louis native, was named a United Soccer Coaches second-team All-American and the Great Lakes Valley Conference Offensive Player of the Year after leading the Hawks to a 17-4-1 record and an NCAA Tournament berth.

She led the Hawks with 10 goals and three assists.

Rief earned Academic All-GLVC status four times during her career at Quincy. She also received the GLVC Council of Presidents Academic Excellence Award, which honors GLVC athletes who graduated with a cumulative grade point average above 3.5.