Coach’s leaving loss for county

When Debbie Guckenberger leaves Greenwood Community High School at the end of the school year, the girls basketball program isn’t the only entity that will feel a void.

So, too, will the local coaching community.

Well-liked and well-respected, Guckenberger not only reversed the fortunes of Greenwood’s long-struggling girls basketball team during 12 seasons as head coach, she earned the admiration of peers who applauded her work and the way she went about it.

At least one laments her departure for Brownsburg, where she will coach that high school’s girls varsity team next season.

“Brownsburg made a great, great hire,” said Franklin coach Walt Raines, who has been in his position for 27 seasons. “Debbie is one of the best coaches around. She understands the game and probably gets more out of her players than any coach in our conference or county.

“I am very happy for her because she deserves this opportunity. I hate to see her go because she is one of my best friends.”

As results reflect, she is exceptionally good at what she does.

When Guckenberger took over the program in 2003, the Woodmen had virtually no tradition for success. They hadn’t finished above .500 in six years and made early postseason exits a habit.

But on her watch, it all changed.

After enduring the growing pains of her first two seasons, during which the Woodmen won a combined five games, they went on to become a force in Johnson County, the Mid-State Conference and the sectional.

In total, Greenwood had five winning seasons, won two county championships, earned a pair of conference titles and claimed its first sectional championship in school history in 2012. The Woodmen finished 20-3 that season, losing to state power Columbus North 49-42 in a regional semifinal.

Greenwood seldom had the most or best talent, but Guckenberger’s teams forged a reputation for playing hard, playing disciplined and playing to win — regardless of how highly hyped the opponent.

“Debbie has rebuilt the Greenwood program so that is competitive with everyone,” Raines said. “She has shown that she can develop players into college-level players, and she is a class lady. She will be very successful at Brownsburg.

“They have a talent pool that she has not had at Greenwood, and that is not a slam on Greenwood. Brownsburg’s feeder system is second-to-none.”

And now it’s in the hands of a coach with a proven track record for making the most of resources at hand.

A class act as Raines accurately noted, here’s wishing her the best.

She’s MVP — again

For the third straight year, Franklin College senior Anna Murdock has been named the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Outdoor Female Track Athlete of the Year.

An NCAA Division III All-American in the indoor season, Murdock earned the HCAC honor after winning the 400-, 800- and 1,500-meter races at the recent HCAC Championships.

Sophomore teammate Erica Christy joined Murdock on the first team All-HCAC Team by winning the shot put.

Murdock is an Indian Creek graduate. Christy is a Greenwood grad.

FC golfer wins HCAC

Franklin College senior Chris Arnold won the HCAC Men’s Golf Championship with a 72-hole total of 292.

Arnold fired a 76 during Sunday’s last day of competition at Royal Hylands Golf Club in Knightstown. His final score was the third-best total in HCAC history for a 72-hole format.

He won the medalist honors by five strokes.

Franklin finished third in the team standings.

Rick Morwick is sports editor of the Daily Journal. He can be reached at or 317-736-2715.