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High school girls basketball: Okarche names former assistant coach Haley Mitchel to succeed Kelli Jennings as head coach

Okarche named former assistant coach Haley Mitchel as the new head girls basketball coach on Wednesday, following the departure of Kelli Jennings last week. 

Josh Sumrall, who was named as the new Okarche Athletic Director and Superintendent on July 1, said the hiring will be made official on August 3.

“When the opening came up and we looked at the schedule, she was an obvious candidate,” Sumrall said. “We just hired from within. She’s already here at our school and has some history and success here at the school and we just thought she was the best candidate at the time for the position.”

Mitchel was an assistant coach when Okarche appeared in six state title games and won three championships during the 2010-2017 seasons, when her mom, Cherie Myers was the head coach. 

Mitchel will succeed Jennings, who was hired as the head girls basketball coach at Northern Oklahoma College Enid.

Jennings, who has lived in Enid with her husband for the entirety of her coaching career in Okarche, said the main reasons for leaving were due to the opportunity to coach at the collegiate level, her familiarity with NOC Enid and the travel conveniences working in Enid possesses.  

Bradley Jennings, Kelli’s husband, had been the dean of students at NOC Enid for the past six years. His career played a role in Kelli enduring the 100-mile drive everyday to-and-from Okarche high school.

“[Bradley] actually resigned in March and took a job before we knew about any of this,” Jennings said. “But I’ve been to NOC for the last six years often. If I wasn’t at an Okarche game I was at a Jets game so I’m really familiar with the program.

“I’ve gotten to know coach [Scott] Morris’ over those six years and I just respect who he is and the foundation he built the program on.”

At Okarche, Jennings posted a 78-17 overall record that included Class A state tournament semifinal appearances in 2018 and 2020. Last season Okarche earned a 27-4 regular-season record despite the team battling multiple injuries.  

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James Jackson

James D. Jackson joined The Oklahoman in January 2020 to cover high school sports. He a University of Central Oklahoma graduate. During his time at UCO, James served as a sports reporter and Editor-in-Chief of the student newspaper, The Vista.... Read more ›

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