The Pickerington High School North girls volleyball team will be under new leadership next season.
Kris Kern said he resigned as coach May 10 and has accepted the girls coaching position at Canal Winchester. He leaves North after compiling a 172-14 record in seven seasons.
“I wanted a new challenge and we pretty much did everything we could at North,” Kern said. “I’m leaving on good terms with no hard feelings whatsoever. I’ll be rooting for the girls to extend their OCC winning streak to 100 matches next year.
“I just felt now was the time. … I’m friends with (Canal Winchester athletics director) Kent Riggs and have admired his programs for years. They’re a close and growing community like Pickerington and they’re joining the (OCC-Cardinal) next year.”
The Panthers finished 26-2 last season, losing to Massillon Jackson 21-25, 25-14, 20-25, 25-20, 15-8 in a Division I regional final.
North had eight seniors last fall, including Megan Giardina and Val Jeffery, who will play Division I college volleyball for Clemson and High Point, respectively.
“Someone once told me that there is no circus without the animals,” Kern said. “I was just the ringleader at North. When I came here, North had never won an OCC title or district title. Now they’ve won seven league championships in a row and have that 86-match OCC winning streak.”
Kern, who guided Lancaster to 13 consecutive league titles before going to North, will take over a Canal Winchester team that finished 7-15 last season.
“I want to take a once-storied program and return the shine to it,” Kern said. “Colleen Ross won over 500 matches there and they won a state championship in 1986. I left Lancaster as the all-time winningest coach and the same at North because it was relatively new, but there’s no way I’ll be around long enough to do that at Canal. But I’ve proven that I can win and get results and now I’d like to do it one more time.”