Brian O'Mara is quite familiar with the Grandview Heights High School girls basketball program and has more than 30 years of coaching experience, but that doesn't mean he isn't willing to seek advice now and then in his new role.
O'Mara, who was an assistant coach for the Bobcats four of the past five seasons, recently was selected to lead the program. He replaces Michelle Chavanne, who resigned after compiling a 30-18 record in two seasons.
O'Mara was a member of the coaching staff for both of Chavanne's seasons as coach and was an assistant coach in the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons under then-coach Steve Hall, who led the program for 12 years.
"I always have asked Michelle, Steve and even (boys basketball coach) Ray (Corbett) for advice on how to handle certain situations," said O'Mara, who was not on the coaching staff in the 2011-12 season when the Bobcats finished 2-19 under then-coach Randy Darst. "I never claimed to know everything about the sport. At the end of the day, it's not about me, but it's about the kids and helping them be successful."
Last season with no seniors on its roster, Grandview finished 18-6 overall, losing to North Union 42-27 in a Division III district semifinal. The Bobcats went 10-4 in the MSL-Ohio Division to tie West Jefferson for second behind Worthington Christian (13-1).
"The biggest challenge for us will be not resting on the success of last season, but building upon it," O'Mara said. "The girls were very happy with what we accomplished and the progress that we made, but last year is now in the past. We have a new season to focus on ahead of us."
Among the players expected to return are guard Megan McCauley, forward Grace Palmer and center Dareth Douglass.
McCauley, who averaged 7.9 points, 5.3 assists, four steals and 3.7 rebounds and was named third-team all-district and first-team all-league, and Palmer, who averaged 6.8 points and 6.5 rebounds and was honorable mention all-district and second-team all-league, are entering their senior year, and Douglass, who averaged eight points, seven rebounds and 1.7 blocks and was second-team all-league, will be a sophomore.
O'Mara said his experience with the program has helped him gain insight into his players.
"First and foremost, this is a group of good people," he said. "Before you even talk about their basketball skills, they are just good kids. That makes it much more enjoyable as a coach, because being good athletes is really secondary.
"From a talent perspective, they play well together. They are a good unit. There are no cliques or anyone who thinks they are better than the others. They just go out and play as a team."
O'Mara's familiarity with the program weighed heavily when it came time for athletics director Jim Hall to decide who would succeed Chavanne as coach.
"Brian's a local guy and he has been an assistant for the past few years," Hall said. "He has coached in various positions for the (school) district for a long time. We felt his knowledge of the community and current team made him a great choice for this year and the future."
O'Mara, who is employed by Safelite AutoGlass, said he plans to donate his coaching salary to charity.
"I never have accepted money to coach," he said. "I always felt it was my chance to give back to the community. I have either donated it back to the athletics program, to a local charity or a combination of both. I believe it's the least that I can do."