Girls Basketball: Ashley Luke-Clanton named Mother McAuley coach
BY TONY BARANEK Sun-Times Media June 5, 2012 6:38PM
Waubonsie Valley graduate Ashley Luke-Clanton (left), pictured during her playing days at DePaul University, has been named the basketball coach at Mother McAuley. | AP File Photo
Updated: July 7, 2012 8:45AM
Mother McAuley athletic director Laurie Jakubczak said Ashley Luke-Clanton filled the bill experience-wise as the choice to be the new Mighty Macs basketball coach.
Being an All-American didn’t hurt, either.
Clanton, 31, takes over the position from Karen Ade, who resigned after the 2011-12 season with a 106-51 record and four regional titles.
In five seasons at Danville, Clanton — a three-time Street & Smith’s All-American at Waubonsie Valley High School — was 54-84 with one regional crown.
“It was a little different down there,” Clanton said. “It’s a town where a lot of people are proud to be from. But as far as girls basketball, they’re a little down. We struggled at times. We’ve been trying to get them back to being respectable, and I think we’ve done that.
“When I came in and interviewed (at McAuley) I had such a great feeling, like it was a perfect fit. Obviously, the reputation at McAuley is excellent. I know they’re going to be hard-working kids. I’m excited to get in there and work with them.”
Danville was the hometown of Clanton’s father, B.J., and uncle Steve, who both returned in 2005 after long teaching and coaching stints at Waubonsie Valley. B.J. Luke coached the Warriors for 18 years and also served as athletic director. Steve Luke was a football assistant and head track coach.
As a point guard, Ashley Luke was a winner, first at Waubonsie Valley, and then at Penn State and DePaul.
At Waubonsie Valley, Clanton was a four-year all-conference player. Her 437 three-pointers made is second in the state record book.
In her senior year (1998-99), she led coach Julie Callan’s Warriors to a 30-3 record and the quarterfinals of the IHSA Girls Class AA State Tournament at Illinois State University where they fell to Marshall, which featured future Rutgers and WNBA (New York Liberty) standout Cappie Pondexter.
As a freshman at Penn State, Luke was a member of the Nittany Lions’ 2000 Final Four squad. During her junior and senior seasons, she played on two DePaul teams that qualified for the NCAA Tournament.
Clanton also played professionally for one season in Ireland before taking her first coaching job as an assistant to former Marian Catholic coach Shannon Reidy at Loyola University. She is married to Denny Clanton, a soccer and basketball standout at Waubonsie Valley who went on to play collegiate soccer at the University of Dayton and professionally for the Chicago Fire.