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Inside the Chrome Dome (archive June 2007)

Please refer to the Inside the Chrome Dome main page for columns published in other issues.




 Picking New Coach Could Be A Tough Move

With the recent resignation of Knightstown basketball coach Chad Ballenger, the school corporation is facing more difficult decisions in the coming weeks.

On the heels of a somewhat controversial decision to eliminate some teaching positions, and consequently, some teachers, the school must now go into a hiring mode to replace a basketball coach and principal.

And that brings us to this week’s “What The Hey?” edition of the Inside the Chrome Dome.

Who should be the next Knightstown High School boys basketball coach?

I’ve asked quite a few people their opinions on this matter, and have been offered some pretty interesting suggestions.

Feel free to e-mail me your thoughts and suggestions on the matter, knowing fully well that it’s not going to matter in any way, shape or form, and will have absolutely no impact on the hiring process. Welcome to my world.

Being a sports writer, I think this is a very important decision. The Panthers have a tremendous amount of talent, especially in the upcoming freshman, sophomore and junior classes. The potential for some incredible success is there, and the coach could make the difference between winning a state title or two, or losing in the sectional round each year.

With that being said, I’ll offer up some suggestions for a potential KHS basketball coach, outside of the obvious choice of promoting junior varsity coach Justin Linch. Linch told me he had not decided whether to put his name in the hat, indicating “The situation would have to be just right,” before he would do so.

So here are my suggestions. I’ve taken the liberty to include the pros and cons pertaining to each candidate’s potential.

Bob Prescott

Pros: He already knows all of the kids and is the football and track and field coach at the high school. His teams would be great rebounders, because they would block out really well.

Cons: Adding basketball to his schedule would make him coaching sports year-round, having virtually no off-season. His wife Laura probably also owns a rolling pin, so he’s not likely a viable candidate.

Mel Matlock

Pros: He may be the best basketball coach in the system at Knightstown, consistently putting competitive, successful, disciplined teams on the court every year. He has always exceeded expectations with his eighth grade basketball teams. He’s also a former Panther basketball player and has a love for the program.

Cons: He’s not a teacher, and that’s an IHSAA requirement, unless a school can obtain a special exception and get a waiver.

Grant Wilfong

Pros: He was a great high school athlete who knows sports and could be an exceptional coach. Also, every time I see him, he has virtually nothing to do and would have plenty of time to devote to the coaching position.

OK, I don’t know if that last part is true, but I’ve been waiting for a long time to say it. Cons: No previous varsity coaching experience, although he has stayed at a Holiday Inn Express.

Beth Swincher

Pros: My 20-year-old daughter knows virtually everything there is to know in the entire world, and has since she was about 12. The team would also get new, prettier uniforms. Cons: She may be at the mall on game night.

Betty Swincher

Pros: My 77-year-old mother is probably the most knowledgeable sports fan I have ever known. She wouldn’t take crap off of any officials, and would keep the kids in shape with a Bob Knight-type approach to team defense and motion offense. The woman spent nearly 1,000 hours of her life in labor. Now that’s tough.

Cons: Practices and game preps would interfere with “Days of Our Lives” and “Jeopardy” viewing schedule.

OK, maybe those aren’t such good ideas after all.

I’ve heard the school corporation has already received interest from roughly 35 people interested in the job. If that’s true, it’s also no surprise. There’s a lot of talent coming up through the ranks in this school corporation.

The head basketball coaching position at KHS is a very serious matter, so I have to take a stab at what I think would really be the best-case scenario for the future of the program.

We could probably never get him here, but I think we should take a shot at Wayne Allen.

He’s a KHS graduate, and was the eighth grade basketball coach here when I was in junior high. He went on to much bigger and better things, however, and last year led the Cass High School girls basketball team to the state championship.

He was also a successful boys varsity coach.

He’s retired from coaching right now, but with the young talent Knightstown has coming up through the system, maybe he could be convinced to come here and take this program to the next level. I know its wishful thinking.

But what a solution.

If he turns us down, there’s always the chance my mom would take the job if someone promises to tape her soaps.




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