Plenty of new faces among F-F hoops coaches
Franklin and Fulton counties boast a plethora of longtime boys basketball coaches.
But one of those men have stepped down this year. After 14 seasons at the helm, Fannett-Metal's Greg Best will be replaced by Jeff Winegardner.
Best amassed a 124-203 (.379) record as F-M's basketball coach. Best is also the Tigers boys soccer coach and F-M athletic director, and he will continue with those duties.
Winegardner is one of four new boys hoops coaches in the area, while two girls basketball teams have new head coaches.
One of the biggest challenges facing Winegardner is time. Best stepped down in October, so Winegardner hasn't had much time to prepare.
"I pretty much knew the boys coming in from last year," said Winegardner, who was the JV coach last year. "I didn't have too many worries there. We'll be looking for an up-tempo game, and to get out and push the ball on offense."
Like Winegardner, McConnellsburg's Drew Washabaugh was promoted from JV head coach to the varsity job shortly before the preseason began.
"With the turnover and how everything has happened, I think the guys have been practicing well," Washabaugh said. "I know all the kids, and they're a good group of kids. As far as basketball-wise, we've set a pretty high standard, and I would like to continue that."
Washabaugh takes over a team that was the runner-up in District 5 last season, and although the Spartans have moved up to Class 2A, he thinks that could be a blessing in disguise given last year's battle with 1A-defending champ Southern Fulton.
Over in Franklin County, Greencastle-Antrim's Rick Lewis also takes over a program that has gotten used to success.
"Well, I think I'd rather people expect us to be good," Lewis said. "Coaching at Greencastle does come with expectations. We have a nice tradition with all of our sports, so I think that's part of the deal."
G-A was picked first in the preseason coaches poll conducted by PennLive.
Timing has also been an obstacle for new Forbes Road girls coach Jamie Gelvin.
"With being such a small school with a very successful hockey program, the girls get a late start with basketball," Gelvin said.
But like Winegardner, Washabaugh and Lewis, Gelvin has moved his way up the program ranks, so he's ready to take on the top job.
"The girls have been great thus far," Gelvin said. "I am lucky to get such a smart group of girls that come to work and improve their games every day. Since I have already coached six of the 10 girls on the roster at some point, the expectations were already set."
Cumberland Valley Christian's basketball program will look quite different, with a new boys and girls coach. Austin Sanders, former player and son of former coach Mike, will be the new boys coach, and Courtney Cover takes over the girls team.
"My dad was the coach my senior year, so I learned a lot from him and all my other coaches I've had in my life," said Sanders, who is also CVC's athletic director. "I'm happy to take over the job and come up with my own system with my coaching staff, and try to do a good job."