From Harlem to two-time Coach of the Year

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From Harlem to two-time Coach of the Year

Moorpark College women's basketball head coach Kenny Plummer. Photo credit: Ryan Ketcham

Moorpark College women's basketball head coach Kenny Plummer. Photo credit: Ryan Ketcham

Moorpark College women's basketball head coach Kenny Plummer. Photo credit: Ryan Ketcham

Moorpark College women's basketball head coach Kenny Plummer. Photo credit: Ryan Ketcham

By Ryan Ketcham

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The back-to-back Western State Conference North Coach of the Year was not always showered with these achievements; he had to work to get to this point, even from a young age while growing up in the tough neighborhood of Harlem, New York.

“I was raised by my grandmother,” said Kenny Plummer, head coach of women’s basketball at Moorpark College. “Growing up in that tough neighborhood showed me and taught me that you have to earn everything, nothing is going to be given to you.”

Plummer lived by that statement of needing to work for everything, especially when playing playground East Coast basketball. According to Plummer, East Coast basketball is extremely physical, but he had to make sure that he could hold his own to stay out on the court against these older players, which built his toughness.

“I was taught that there was no foul calling, either you make it through contact or you had to bounce back up and go to the other end,” Plummer said. “The East Coast basketball really trained me physically and mentally to be a physical defender and a vocal leader.”

Kenny Plummer celebrating after VC win.jpg

Head coach Kenny Plummer celebrates after a long overdue victory over Ventura College. Photo credit: Ryan Ketcham

Plummer took his toughness that he received on the playgrounds of Harlem and displayed them on the hard-wood courts of Moorpark College from 1998-2000. While at Moorpark College, he was able to lead the Raiders to a Western State Conference (WSC) North division title, made the State Championship final four and was awarded the Del Parker Toughest best defender award.

“This is where I molded my game, this is where I developed not only athletically, but with personal development,” Plummer said. “Being coached under Remy McCarthy and Howard Davis, the passion, the commitment, and the fire they instilled in their players to go out there and make sure that you are giving it your all, helped me at the next level.”

That next level was at Montana State University of Bozeman where Plummer played in 60 games from 2000-2002 for the Bobcats Division 1 men’s basketball team. He led the Big Sky Conference in blocks and blocks per game while being second in field goal percentage his first season. Plummer’s second season with the Bobcats ended with a Big Sky Conference regular season title and an opening round victory in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT). Assistant coach of Moorpark College women’s basketball, Remy McCarthy, believes that Plummer’s time in Division 1 basketball helped him turn into the coach he is today.

“It gives you some credibility,” McCarthy said. “Once you’ve seen those kind of players, then you know what it takes to be there.”

Following Plummer’s playing days, he started training the star player of Oxnard High School, Amber Jackson, and when the head coaching job opened up, he was able to take it to start his coaching career. Plummer never had a losing season with Oxnard, and when he moved to coach at Oaks Christian High School, the same result occurred. He was also able to lead Oaks Christian to a 44-0 league record in the four years coaching of the Lions.

“Once I started coaching, I right away knew that this was my passion and my calling,” Plummer said. “What separates me from many other coaches is I pride myself in working just as hard as I expect my players to work hard for me.”

After departing from Oaks Christian, Plummer became the head coach of Moorpark College women’s basketball and has so far coached for three years with all winning records. He has also led the Raiders to the playoffs in the past two seasons, including the playoff run this year. According to Plummer, he learned that to be a great coach, you need to work just as hard and tap into the potential of your players, which takes time and commitment.

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Moorpark guard Sydney Arikawa and head coach Kenny Plummer celebrate their victory at Ventura College. Photo credit: Ryan Ketcham

Moorpark College women’s basketball guard Sydney Arikawa, who has played for Plummer the past two years, mentioned that coach Plummer was one of her favorite coaches to play for.

“Coach Kenny has helped me keep my love for this game,” Arikawa said. “He’s a great coach that cares about his players, he is smart, hard-working, and dedicated to this team.”

This season, Plummer led his team to a 22-7 overall record and an 8-2 conference record. The Raiders won their first playoff game in five years and did it on the road and beat Ventura for the first time in 60 games also on the road. With this great season, Moorpark has improved every year Plummer has been in this position, and it does not look like this improvement will slow down anytime soon.

“We’re excited, hopefully we make another leap next year,” McCarthy said. “Instead of winning one playoff game, win two.”

Break in action at Ventura College

Head coach Kenny Plummer speaks with his team during a break in action at Ventura College. Photo credit: Ryan Ketcham

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