By Rob Kiser
When Piqua High School looked for a new varsity girls basketball coach, athletic director Chip Hare didn’t have to look far.
Jon Dolph, the freshman boys basketball coach a year ago, new it was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up.
Dolph, a former standout athlete for the Indians, guided the freshman boys to a 17-4 record a year ago.
“I had always wanted to be a varsity coach,” Dolph said. “When Chip (Hare) and I talked, it just seemed like the perfect place for me.”
And Dolph understands the first step is changing the culture — which is exactly what he plans to do.
Piqua was 20-72 the past four seasons and has not had a winning season since Dan Penrod was coaching back in the 1999-2000 season.
And Dolph isn’t wasting much time doing it.
“We are going to get started in the weight room next week,” Dolph said. “I know that is something they didn’t do much in the past. I know in the summer there is soccer, volleyball, vacations. But, at the same time, I told the girls there needs to be a commitment to the program. That is something that has to happen.”
Dolph is familiar with a number of his players.
“There are going to be some new faces,” Dolph said. “But, teaching at the high school, there are a lot of girls I have had in P.E. class. I am not happy with the numbers (in the program) right now. But, hopefully we will have success and that will encourage more girls to come out.”
Dolph said basketball is basketball — regardless of whether you are coaching girls or boys.
“Exactly the same,” Dolph said. “I am not going to change the style I play. I like to run. So, the girls are going to need to be in shape and have to work hard.”
Dolph said this summer will be an important one heading into next season. The good news is he will inherit a freshman group that lost just four games in junior high.
“Absolutely,” he said. “It is very important (for the players and coaches to become familiar with each other). I am going to take a look and see what kind of talent we have on the team.”
And Dolph can’t wait to get started.
“I feel like I am getting the job a little late, but I can’t wait to get started,” he said. “I am shooting for 10 wins next year and take it from there. I am excited.”
To get started on an opportunity he couldn’t pass up.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.