The Paradise Panthers are adding one of the state’s most prolific scorers and a former state championship MVP to its bench.
Cody Chandler, who led Lipan to a Class A title as a player in 1994 and later 183 wins as a head coach, has accepted the Panthers boys basketball job.
Chandler takes over for Tim Dukes, who resigned to pursue a job in the Metroplex.
“He’s a good fit for us,” said Paradise Athletic Director Scott Broussard. “He’s had success as a player and a coach. He has a good track record.”
Chandler spent eight seasons as the head coach in Lipan, leading his hometown squad to the playoffs in seven campaigns. Under him, Lipan went to the region tournament five times and made the state tournament in 2008-09, going 28-9. Chandler compiled a 183-92 record in his eight seasons.
Chandler is looking forward to his next opportunity that is still close to his family.
“It’s close to my hometown and my parents and in-laws will still be able to come watch,” Chandler said. “Talking with people there is quite a bit of talent returning and coming up. With the district realignment it should be a good situation for several years.”
Paradise moved into the new District 9-3A next year with Bowie, Boyd, Henrietta, Holliday, Jacksboro, Nocona and City View. Last year, Paradise shared 9-2A with state powers Brock, Ponder and Peaster.
“At one point last year there were three teams in their district in the top five and Millsap was a top 20 team,” Chandler said. “That’s something we want to get to, but it takes years to get there.”
After winning a state title as a player and getting to the final four as a coach, Chandler said he knows the commitment it takes to reach that level.
“I’ve been through a winning system and understand the commitment it takes and can convey that to the kids,” he said. “Coach Broussard wants to build an overall program where everyone can succeed.”
On the court, Chandler wants the Panthers to get out and run a motion offense in their half-court sets.
“We want to push the ball. It’s hard to get kids to buy in walking the ball up the floor and working it inside,” Chandler said. “I like to run.”
He also expects an aggressive defense to be a staple of the team.
“We want to get down, guard and make everything hard on the offense,” Chandler said.