“Back Home Again in Indiana” is the state’s signature song. Now, it’s a way of life for Jenny Finora.
Finora, 39, who moved to Greenwood last summer, was approved as the new Woodmen girls basketball coach during a school board meeting on Tuesday night.
Having lived, played and coached out of state for two decades, Finora, a 2002 graduate of Jennings County High School, who as Jenny Pfeiffer eclipsed 1,000 points and became a 2002 Indiana All-Star, is excited to be back on Hoosier soil.
“I am beyond thrilled,” Finora said. “The opportunity presented itself, and here we are. It’s really exciting, and a dream come true.”
Greenwood finished 8-15 last season under coach Justin Bennett, who resigned in April after five seasons to become the head coach at Tri-West.
The Woodmen were 34-78 under Bennett.
Finora will be Greenwood’s fourth head coach in the last nine seasons, and the sixth since 2000. She last coached at Mars Hill University, a Division II school in North Carolina, starting in June 2016.
Prior to that, Finora spent five seasons (2010-15) at Coker University in Hartsville, South Carolina, which like Mars Hill,is a member of the South Atlantic Conference.
Coker had been victorious only twice the season before her arrival; Finora gradually increased the Cobras’ win total for three consecutive years, the high point being an 18-11 mark in 2012-13.
Her coaching career came to an abrupt halt in the spring of 2018. Finora took an inadvertent elbow to the head while scrimmaging with her Mars Hill players and sustained a concussion that affected her vision and required years of rehabilitation.
Since relocating to central Indiana, Finora has worked as a personal trainer at the Baxter YMCA in Indianapolis and the Benjamin Harrison YMCA in Lawrence.
Once the Greenwood coaching job opened up, she reacted.
“I knew there was going to be more opportunity for our kids being close to Indianapolis,” Finora said. “Greenwood is an hour from my mom and dad, and an hour from my sister.”
Finora has two children — son Emjay, 10, and daughter Grace, 8.
After high school, Finora played basketball at the University of Kentucky while earning a bachelor’s degree in 2005 and her master’s in 2007.
She continues to hold prominent locations in the UK record book. Finora is first in career free throw percentage (86.1%), second in single-season marksmanship from the charity stripe (88.7%) and third all-time in made 3-pointers (162).
Kentucky twice advanced to postseason play in the back half of her career, qualifying for the second round of the women’s NCAA tournament her junior season and the third round of the WNIT when she was a senior.
Finora went on to play and coach professionally for one season in Iceland before focusing on her stateside coaching career — one that now has found its way to Johnson County.
“First and foremost, I really want to generate excitement for girls in the community,” Finora said. “It’s important to build that, and just develop a culture of having a family atmosphere.”