Michael Neal

NHS coach Michael Neal instructs his player amid a timeout during the Tigers game against Edmond North in late January of the 2019-20 season.

Three different head high school basketball positions are open in the Norman Public Schools district.

Not only the job Norman North girls coach Rory Hamilton resigned from last month, but both the Norman High girls and boys positions, previously held by Michael Neal, who just led the Tigers to a second consecutive Class 6A state championship, and boys coach Rodney Dindy.

Norman Public Schools has listed both Neal’s old job and Dindy’s as open on its website and a search for their replacements is ongoing.

Of all the departures, Neal’s is the headliner.

The point guard on his most recent team, Kelbie Washington, is headed to Lloyd Noble Center to play her college basketball for the Sooners, while two of his players set to return for their senior seasons at NHS, Myka Perry and Mikayla Parks, are verbally committed to Florida and Kansas State, respectively.

The Transcript has confirmed Neal to be a candidate to join the staff of new Oklahoma women’s basketball coach Jennie Baranczyk. The program has yet to formally introduce any assistant coaches. Should Neal be hired, he would rejoin the university he once played for.

One source believes Neal has indeed landed the job.

A high school basketball coach with Norman connections, the source told The Transcript it’s understood Neal will indeed be joining Baranczyk’s staff.

Additionally, during Baranczyk’s introductory press conference, when asked by a Transcript reporter if she intended to build a wall around the state “or conceivably, even in town” to keep the best players, Baranczyk interrupted the question with “Yes” before the question was complete.

Though the state titles Neal coached the Tigers to were not in back-to-back seasons as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it very well could have been a third straight crown the Tigers claimed this past season.

They had lost only one game in the 2019-20 season and were ranked No. 1 when the tourney was called off the day it was to begin, on March 12.

Sherri Coale, the coach Baranczyk replaced at OU, is the only other NHS girls coach to have won two state championships.

Dindy departs the NHS boys basketball program following five seasons. He left Midwest City to lead the Tigers. The NHS boys went 2-18 this past season.

On Wednesday, The Oklahoman named Neal its girls basketball coach of the year and Washington its “Super 5 Girls Basketball Player of the Year.”

In the story about Washington, Neal referred to the Tiger point guard as “a legend.”

Perhaps Washington and Neal’s basketball relationship will be continuing very soon at the collegiate level.

Clay Horning

405 366-3526

Follow me @clayhorning

cfhorning@normantranscript.com

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