New Albany News

Girls Basketball

Puryear resigns as New Albany's coach

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There’s no definitive timetable for when the New Albany High School girls basketball team will have a new coach following Jamie Puryear’s resignation last week.

“We start the process (this) week and then kind of see,” athletics director Kevin Reed said. “There are a lot of factors that will go into finding a new coach.”

Puryear gave Reed his resignation in a meeting March 5. A day later, he broke the news to his team.

“We were such a close-knit team, closer than anyone would know,” said Puryear, who will remain on staff at New Albany as an educational aide for special-needs students. “I will still be on staff and see them at school. I’ll be there to help them in any way I can.”

The Eagles are expected to return everyone next season. Junior point guard Hannah Scipio, a three-year starter, is Puryear’s daughter.

Puryear coached New Albany for five seasons. He compiled an 84-31 record, including 51-13 in the OCC-Capital Division and 10-5 in the postseason.

New Albany won the OCC-Capital in 2009-10, and Puryear guided the Eagles to district runner-up finishes in 2008, 2009 and 2010. The Eagles moved to Division I in the 2009-10 season.

New Albany was 17-6 this season, including 12-2 in the OCC-Capital, second behind champion Olentangy Orange (14-0). The season ended March 1 with a 48-34 loss to second-seeded Pickerington North in a district semifinal. New Albany was the 11th seed.

In an interview with ThisWeek on March 4, Puryear talked about the Eagles’ goals of winning a district championship next year with a team that spent this season meshing move-ins with returnees.

But after meeting with players March 6 to notify them of his resignation, Puryear said he was spent.

“You get a little tired and a little burnt out, and for now I wanted to take some time and step away,” he said. “I truly feel the program is in a really good place right now.”

Reed said the position should be an attractive one to potential candidates, but the selection of Puryear’s successor will involve some factors outside of basketball.

“There are a lot of factors as far as things like teaching positions and what we’re able to do to get someone in here,” Reed said. “The season just ended, so we’re going to take our time and get out there and just see how it goes.”

The new coach will be taking over a team with a similar makeup to the one Puryear inherited in 2007-08. That team also featured a large group of returning seniors, and all five starters were expected back.

The Eagles last won a district championship as a Division II team in 2003. That year, the Eagles were a state semifinalist under Rex Reeder, who is now an assistant principal.

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