Girls Basketball

Catching up with Al Aldridge, Prairie High School girls basketball coaching legend

Former Central Valley girls basketball coach Freddie Rehkow, who was named the 2017-18 National High School Girls’ Basketball Coach of the Year, has been working with Scorebook Live to shine a light on girls basketball players and coaches across the state of Washington.

Rehkow recently caught up with legendary Washington high school girls basketball coach Al Aldridge, who won six state championships over 32 years as the head coach at Prairie High School. Aldridge won 719 games at Prairie and developed more than 100 NCAA Division I, II and III athletes. Aldridge, who has multiple degrees in Music Education, taught Instrumental Music in the Battle Ground School District for 31 years.

What was your most memorable moment as a coach?

Coaching the All-America Team and game in Connecticut in 2000.

What was your biggest challenge as a high school coach?   

Parents, keeping the tradition alive, and moving forward.

Who are some of your former athletes that stood out to you?

Ashley Corral, a McDonald’s and Parade All-American, USC starter for 4 years, WNBA player, now running her own training business (Ashley Corral Performance Training) and training my club kids.

Also Tami Stuart, in Prairie’s first class, first D-1 player at Boise State University. She set the bar very high for all to follow.

What was your recipe for success?

Be a teacher of the game, not a teacher of plays. I have been both. I was a teacher of plays for too long, but it worked so it was hard to change, but I finally realized what I needed to stay fresh in the sport. Fundamentals have always been my priority, as is perfection in getting things done right in regards to the game. Be consistent in your coaching style and your discipline. Be fair but don’t play favorites, find a philosophy and stick to it. If your drive is defense, then make that a focus each year. Always look for ways to continue to grow as a coach. I still spend a couple of hours a day online looking at material or researching ideas for new trends.

Who is your personal hero?

Brad Smith, Oregon City High School legend. He was the National Coach of the year and won 10 Oregon State Championships, and four National Championships. He has been a close friend and confidant for many, many years.

Aldridge’s coaching background

Prairie High School: 32 years as varsity girls basketball head coach (1979-2012). Won six state championships and 719 games. Named runner-up for National Coach of the Year in 2000. Inducted into the Washington State Girls Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2016.

Clark College: 4 years as girls basketball head coach (2012-2016).

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