By Mike Pilosof
Garden City, KS-The state of Indiana is synonymous with some of the best high school basketball in the country. Ever seen the movie Hoosiers?
Head Coach Norman Dale, played brilliantly by Gene Hackman in the 1986 movie, was a fiery Navy veteran, who led a small-town team to an improbable state championship.
Coaching or playing in the Hoosier state carries a lot of weight, so it's no surprise that Garden City went fishing in one of the best basketball ponds in the nation.
Indiana-native and longtime high school coach Omega Tandy was named the new women's basketball coach at Garden City Community College.
"I was familiar with Garden City, having former teammates that played there," Tandy said. "I knew Garden City had experienced some success in the past, so it was easy to be attracted to the opportunity."
Tandy replaces Charinee Mitchell, who resigned last month to become an assistant coach at Lamar University.
"Coach Tandy rose to the top of an extremely competitive applicant pool," Director of Athletics Greg McVey said. "We are excited to have her leading our women's basketball program into the future. She has a high basketball I.Q., outstanding character, and is truly committed to developing student-athletes both on and off the floor. We welcome her and her family to the Buster family."
Tandy comes to Garden City after spending the past two seasons as the head girls coach at Class 3A Mississinewa High School in Gas City, IN. There, she compiled a record of 24-22.
"Indiana is blue collar, hard-nosed, fundamental basketball," Tandy explained. "In my opinion, Indiana has some of the best basketball players in the country. Being able to play and coach at that level, and even though I don't have a lot of collegiate coaching experience, I feel I have plenty of life experience, and experience around the game."
Tandy spent a season as an assistant coach at the University of Evansville where she was the recruiting coordinator, defensive coordinator and responsible for point-guard development. There, Tandy coached the Missouri Valley defensive player of the year Camary Williams, who now plays professionally overseas, all-time leading scorer Sara Dickey, who also plays professionally overseas, and the program's all-time leading rebounder, Sasha Robinson.
"I've built a lot of relationships being around the game," Tandy said. "My passion for the game is the same no matter what level I've coached at."
Before landing at Evansville, Tandy was the head girls coach at Hamilton Heights High School in Arcadia, IN, where she helped turn around a struggling program in 2015. Prior to that, she coached AAU basketball in Indianapolis for nine years while also serving as an assistant under Indiana Hall-of-Famer Stan Benge at Ben Davis High School in 2008, where the Giants finished 30-0 and won the state and national championship led by two future WNBA players: Alex Bentley and Bria Goss.
"This is the highest level of basketball in Junior College," Tandy said. "I want to hit the ground running. We need to make a name for ourselves so the recruits see that we should be the premier program in the conference."
Tandy grew up in Indianapolis and played her high school ball at North Central, winning a sectional championship her junior year in 2001. From there, she received a scholarship to play at Duquesne University before transferring to Cleveland State in 2004. She led the Vikings in scoring and is one of the program's all-time leaders in 3-point shooting and minutes played. She has a Bachelor's degree in sociology with an emphasis in criminology, and is almost done with her Master's at Duquesne.
"I'm excited to get to work and to get to know this team," Tandy said. "It's going to be high energy. I believe in having fun while we do it. I want our girls to enjoy their experience. This will be a player-first program."
Tandy moves to Garden City with her husband George Tandy IV, who played at Cleveland State and professionally in Germany. They have three children: Aven Rae (8), Grace (7) and George V, who they call Cinco (nine months).