RACINE, Ohio — A familiar face to lead the Lady Tornadoes.
At a recent meeting, the Southern Local School District Board of Education unanimously approved the hire of Alan Crisp as the varsity girls basketball coach.
“I’ve always had that itch to get back in it, and the opportunity never arose until now,” Crisp said. “I want to thank the board and Mr. Deem for the opportunity to coach basketball again.”
Crisp — who will enter his eighth consecutive season as Lady Tornadoes softball coach in the spring of 2019 — last coached the SHS varsity girls basketball team in the 2009-10 season, completing a four-year stint.
In his current tenure as SHS softball skipper, Crisp has led the Purple and Gold to a 118-85 record, with six sectional titles. Still, more than the on field success, Crisp noted that the connections made with players as a primary point of pride.
“I just like being around the kids and the camaraderie that you develop with them,” Crisp said. “I think I’ve done that with softball a lot, developing positive relationships so that they’ll not only look at me as a coach, but they’ll call me for job recommendations or whatever they may need. I think that’s a big part of coaching, it’s not just X’s and O’s, but the relationships that you build with the players.
“One thing I’m excited about is that it’s a different group than I’ve had. A lot of them will play softball, but then a lot of them won’t, so it’ll be a different group of kids than I’ve dealt with in the past.”
In addition to the basketball players that Crisp has coached in softball, he also coached some of his juniors in junior high volleyball.
Crisp — who will be the fourth head coach in six seasons for the Purple and Gold — is also looking to add a measure of stability to the Lady Tornado basketball program.
“We need some stability and I’m not going anywhere, I’m probably be here until I retire,” said Crisp. “I feel like the program needs some stability and needs someone that’s going to be here and go through the growing pains. We’re going to have growing pains before it gets better.”
Crisp is replacing David Kight, who coached the Lady Tornadoes to a 7-17 record in one season. Just five players can return from last season’s squad, however, as six of the team’s 11 players were lost to graduation.
“We lost a lot of seniors last year, and we going to be really young, so it was good time for a new coach to come in,” said Crisp. “We don’t have any seniors right now that I know of, at least there were no juniors that played last year. It’s a good time to get everybody to jell together and start rebuilding.
“We got a late start on open gyms, I think we only got like 3-or-4 open gyms in, and it was mostly freshmen and sophomores. I’m hoping to get the young ones to buy in to what we do and help turn things around.”
Prior to last season Southern had four straight winning campaigns, with the program’s only sectional title in the last decade coming in 2016.
Crisp and the Lady Tornadoes will begin the 2018-19 season on the road, as they’re slated to visit Meigs on Nov. 26.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.