Within a span of just more than two months, the La Cañada High girls' basketball program has undergone three coaching changes.
The carousel stopped again Tuesday night when former Crescenta Valley assistant and St. Monica Academy head coach Owen Keenan moved down the freeway to fill a sudden vacancy after the quick and surprising departure of Jordan Franey.
Keenan comes to La Cañada to take his third head coaching gig after spending the last two years at St. Monica.
"I loved my time at St. Monica and it was a difficult decision to make, but this was an opportunity at La Cañada that I just couldn't pass up," Keenan said. "This is an excellent program with a strong junior varsity team and I look forward to the challenge."
Keenan's Crusaders squads compiled a 32-15 combined record with a 24-0 International League mark that led to two league championships. St. Monica qualified to the postseason in both his campaigns, reaching the second round this past season.
"I'd like to bring the same thing to La Cañada," Keenan said. "This is a very established program and it's something new because it's an intermediate school. I've coached at big schools like CV and small schools like St. Monica and this will be different."
Reigning All-Area Girls' Basketball Coach of the Year Sarah Beattie resigned March 1 after a fantastic three-year run in which the alumna piloted the program to 75 victories, three Rio Hondo League titles and a first-ever berth to a CIF Southern Section championship game.
On April 17, the school hired the 30-year-old Franey. The former UC Santa Barbara standout had previously been an assistant coach at Whittier College, California Lutheran University and Pfeiffer University and was a head coach at San Gabriel High.
Franey's tenure was short-lived, however, as she stepped down from the position and the school board was thrown back into a coaching search.
"Jordan Franey emailed me saying that due to personal reasons she needed to step away from coaching altogether and as much as she had been looking forward to the opportunity to coach at La Cañada and was so appreciative, she needed to rescind her acceptance of the offer," La Cañada athletic director Kristina Kalb said. "That came rather suddenly, I'll be honest, I didn't anticipate that."
When reached via a phone call Wednesday afternoon, Franey added, "It's just not the right time."
When asked if there was a specific problem with the school or parents, Franey responded, "I'm not sure."
"I totally wish her well and I hope that whatever she needs to attend to goes positively for her," Kalb said. "With that being said, the timing was not ideal for us and we then needed to start looking for other options and so we went through our process."
Enter the magnanimous Keenan, who was passed over during the first coaching search in favor of Franey.
"I know before I was told there were two very strong candidates for the job," Keenan said. "Honestly, I don't know what happened in that situation and I'm really just happy they picked me now."