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July 12, 2013

Pennypacker returns to team that made him

(Continued)

CHICKASHA —

He believes an atmosphere like this allows the players to pursue their potential and, possibly, beyond that. Pennypacker said this is evident in Chickasha's run to the state semifinals last season.

"That's how you end up doing things you shouldn't be able to do," he said. "To be honest, the team last year probably should not have been able to make the state semifinals, but they worked hard to achieve that."

Pennypacker said he has struggled with the idea of how to balance being a coach and remaining someone the players feel is approachable, more akin to a friend.

"To me, you have to form a relationship, whether they're a freshman or a senior. Then, it becomes a situation where they don't want to disappoint you. If they do something wrong, they're not upset that you're yelling at them; they're upset that they have upset you.

"I want to be friends, but they know when practice starts it's time to work. I like to keep those things separate. You may have a terrible practice or game, but outside of the gym I forget that."

Instilling this type of attitude in the team may be made all that easier with some of the kids Pennypacker coached at his previous school vying for spots on his next varsity squad.

"The sophomore group is who I had at Pioneer, and that's what really attracted me to Chickasha," he said. "That class is unbelievable to watch and we have a few juniors and seniors mixed in to give us a very good group that could be successful, depending on your definition of success."

For Pennypacker, this means working hard and having the right attitude; but, he is not shy about touting the ability he believes this squad still has even without the now graduated E.J. Golightly and Joey Sylvester.

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