Zionsville Community High School Girls Basketball Welcomes Coach Drudge

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May 2024

Join us in welcoming Coach Jennifer Drudge, who has stepped into the head coach position to lead the ZCHS Girls Basketball team into its next chapter. Drudge succeeds Andy Maguire, who announced his retirement earlier this year after 40 years of coaching.

An Impressive Athletic Resume of Her Own

Drudge was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 2023. She was a 1995 Indiana All-Star at Rushville High School and played at Butler University. Her coaching career includes serving as an assistant coach at Carmel High from 2000-2001 before becoming the head coach there for three seasons. She returned as an assistant coach at Carmel from 2009-2013 and again this past season under first-year head coach Rick Risinger.

Jennifer Drudge

Additionally, Drudge coached her niece Annika Marlow’s travel AAU team for several years; Marlow is a 2022 Rushville graduate. Drudge finished her 24th year at Carmel Clay Schools as a chemistry teacher and will transition to teaching geometry and algebra I at ZCHS.

“I grew up in Rush County, and girls’ basketball was a big deal before it was a [big] deal in a lot of other communities,” Drudge said. “One of the reasons girls’ basketball was so supported was because of Coach Cinda Brown. She was a fantastic leader of young ladies and of all kids. She really brought our community together, and when I was going through elementary school, I couldn’t wait to be a Lady Lion.”

Girls’ and Women’s Basketball Gaining Popularity

Drudge shared her thoughts on how girls’ and women’s basketball continues to gain popularity and community support.

“What an amazing and exciting time for women’s basketball,” Drudge expressed. “The WNBA has been around for over 25 years, and while they’ve established themselves, it’s only been in the last few years that [women’s] basketball has become a national game that has gained popularity among men, women, girls and boys.”

While Drudge supports any student-athletes dreaming of going pro, she emphasizes the value of playing at the high school level.

“We don’t want kids to miss out on the impact and importance of participating in high school sports,” Drudge said. “We want the kids to realize that playing for your high school and representing your community is a lifelong pleasure for them.”

As a former female student-athlete, Drudge recalled how playing for Butler University back in the day looked quite different than it does today.

“My experience at Butler was fantastic, but even college basketball has changed drastically in the last 25 years and when I was playing at Butler,” Drudge shared. “We didn’t get the great crowds at our women’s games. I went to a game this last season, and people were standing in line outside of Hinkle [Fieldhouse], and it was such a cool experience. It’s been really cool to see the men’s and the women’s [basketball] programs grow so much in the last 25 years.”

A Return to Courtside … Just in a Different County

“Even while I was at Butler, there was a little part of me that considered going into college coaching, but I’ve known since the first grade that I wanted to be a high school teacher,” Drudge said. “What I’ve grown to understand while teaching for 24 years is that coaching is teaching. We meet kids where they are, figure out what their strong suits are, and give them opportunities to grow and improve their game.”

When asked what she is excited about as far as coaching and teaching in Zionsville, Drudge shared, “I am incredibly excited to be in Zionsville and learn about their culture and traditions. I’ve been so impressed with everyone in Zionsville, from school administration to players and parents. I think it’s going to be an exciting season for us.”

Drudge added, “I want to create the culture that Coach Brown created at Rushville and make an impact on these kids the way that [Brown] did [on] me and my teammates. The timing of being able to come to Zionsville—a fantastic school corporation and community—with a program that Coach McGuire has established and has had a ton of success with, it is just perfect timing for me.”

Drudge emphasized that her primary goal is to get acclimated and to build strong relationships with her team and the coaching staff.

“The first thing is getting to know the kids really well this summer,” Drudge stated. “They say that kids don’t care what you know until they know that you care, and I think that’s important—not just in the classroom but also in coaching. So, this summer will be dedicated to getting to know the kids, them getting to know me, and figuring out what our strengths are. We will build our offense and defense around the strengths of our team. We’ll have a young team on the court next season, but I think by the end of the [season], we’ll look like a veteran team.”