It was an offer too good to refuse.
Austin Puntilla was named the new girls basketball coach at Archbishop Hannan this week.
Puntilla replaces Karen Davis, who coached the past two seasons.
Hannan went 17-14 last season and advanced to the second round of the Class 2A playoffs before losing to eventual state champion North Caddo.
“(Hannan Athletic Director Joe Hines) asked me if I would be interested in the job after it became open,” Puntilla said. “It didn’t take me long to figure out that this shouldn’t be an opportunity I turn down.”
An assistant coach under Michael Senna on the Hannan boys team last season, Puntilla takes over the girls program despite only one year of coaching experience.
“Having the opportunity to run a varsity program at a school like Hannan is something I didn’t think would happen this quick for me,” Puntilla said. “It is truly a dream come true, and I’m excited for the year ahead.”
Puntilla said her lack of experience won’t be a drawback.
“While some may not think that I have the coaching experience that other coaches do, I do think the fact that I am so young will help me relate to the players,” she said. “What players look for is a coach that they are willing to play for, and, as a coach, if you don’t have the respect of your players it is not going to work out.
“What I lack for in experience, I do make up for in passion and energy. I’m excited. I’m not nervous. If I was nervous, I wouldn’t have taken this position.”
Puntilla credited Senna for helping him advance so quickly.
“There are plenty people around me that I will have as role models,” he said. “(Senna) has done a fantastic job of taking me under his wing and being a role model for me in the coaching profession. He leads an excellent program for our boys squad.”
Hannan will return a majority of its roster next season, having lost only two seniors.
The Hawks return both of their leading scorers in sophomore Kennedy Martin (12.2 points per game) and freshman Mallory Kramer (11.3 ppg).
Puntilla also announced that assistant coach Stephen Griffin would not be retained on the coaching staff.