Kelly Joseph told Olentangy Orange High School athletics director John Betz several months ago that she would be interested in becoming the school’s girls basketball coach whenever the position opened.
Although coach Mary Ann Grimes was in just her third season, she had made it clear to many who followed the program closely that she wouldn’t be coaching many more years.
After Grimes made it official in mid-April that the 2012-13 season was her last, Joseph again reiterated her desire to coach a program about to embark on a youth movement after making its first run to the state tournament.
Joseph, whose daughter, Maddy, was a key player last season when the Pioneers went 26-3 and reached a Division I state semifinal, recently was selected to become the program’s third coach.
Joseph was a middle school boys basketball coach in the Olentangy school district the last two years and will be leading a varsity program for the first time.
“We’re excited about it,” said Joseph, whose husband, Chris, coached Worthington Christian’s girls basketball team from 1996-2005 and last year was the interim boys basketball coach at Gahanna Christian while also serving as principal. “I’m sure I’ll make a lot of mistakes, but it’s going to be terrific.”
Maddy Joseph helped the Pioneers go 69-8 in three seasons under Grimes. She will play for Ohio Christian University.
The Josephs’ two older sons, 2010 graduate Zack Joseph and 2008 Worthington Christian graduate Tyler Joseph, also played high school basketball. Zack is playing for Ohio Valley University in Vienna, W.Va., and Tyler is a member of the musical group twenty one pilots.
The fourth sibling, Jay Joseph, will be a freshman at Orange this fall.
Kelly Joseph met Chris Joseph in college when both were at Virginia Tech.
Her first team at Orange won’t have seven key players from last season, including all five starters. Forward Lexi Werling will be a junior who saw limited action last season, Emilia Martin (guard) will be a senior next season and Breanna Barron (guard) and Mikaela Lyons (forward) will be juniors who played during the final minute of a 73-63 state semifinal loss to Twinsburg.
“I don’t like to use the word rebuilding,” Kelly Joseph said. “These girls are ready to roll and it’s my job to help them have success and help them reach their peak at the right time.”