Joe Rucker will be the new girls basketball coach at Northridge High School.
Rucker helped rebuild the Mount Vernon girls basketball program over the past three seasons, but uncertainty with the future of Yellow Jackets athletics prompted the move to Northridge.
“They are threatening to cut sports if the levy is not passed (May 7),” said Rucker, a 2000 graduate of Coshocton who earned bachelor’s degrees in history and communications from Marietta College and a master’s in education from Muskingum University. “When I saw the Northridge job was open, I was interested because it seemed like a good fit. I live in Johnstown, and also I didn’t want to be on the outside looking in if they don’t have sports (at Mount Vernon).”
Rucker started his career at Newton (N.C.) Fred T. Foard High School, coaching for four seasons before going to Mount Vernon. The Yellow Jackets went 3-18 in his first season before improving to 7-14 in 2011-12 and 13-11 last season.
The Vikings finished 2-21 last season under first-year coach Fred Davis.
“It seems like a similar situation as when I came to Mount Vernon,” said Rucker, a social studies teacher at Mount Vernon. “(Northridge) is kind of like a diamond in the rough.
“I see (the Vikings) going into a bigger and better league (moving from the MBC to the Licking County League). The competition may be tougher, but you have to play against good competition if you want to get better and be ready come tournament time.”