Olentangy Valley News

Girls Basketball

Liberty, Orange searching for new coaches

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Both the Olentangy Liberty and Olentangy Orange high school girls basketball programs are looking for head coaches.

Ron Florey, who was the Patriots’ coach the last four seasons, told his team he was stepping down March 17.

Kelly Joseph resigned as Orange coach at the end of her first season, according to athletics director John Betz.

Liberty went 4-17 in Florey’s first season in 2010-11 but improved to 10-12 in his second season.

The Patriots then tied the program record for wins in a season by going 15-9.

They were 12-9 in 2013-14.

“This season was just a difficult season in some respects,” Florey said. “We lost to Mount Vernon (43-38 on Feb. 20 in the second round of the Division I district tournament) and my mom passed away the next day. My business could use more of me. It seemed like a good time.”

Florey was an assistant at Westerville South for seven seasons before leading Madison Plains to a 33-32 mark from the 2004-07. He then coached Northridge to a 6-56 record in three seasons before taking over at Liberty.

A 1971 graduate of Veedersburg (Ind.) Fountain Central, the 61-year-old Florey owns Triple Play Sports Cards and Memorabilia in Westerville.

The Patriots lose only two key players and will return a Division I recruit in Kristen Levering — who verbally has committed to Miami University — from a team that finished third at 10-4 in the OCC-Central Division.

“I have a tremendous amount of admiration for the Liberty administration,” Florey said. “On paper, they should be very good next year.”

In Joseph’s only season as Orange’s coach, the Pioneers went 2-21, with both of their wins over Franklin Heights (45-29 on Jan. 3 and 51-37 on Feb. 4).

Orange had just one senior in Emilia Martin and is set to return its leading scorer in junior forward Lexi Werling (11.3 ppg).

Joseph took over last season for Mary Ann Grimes, who led the program to a 69-8 record in three seasons that included a Division I state semifinal appearance in 2012-13.

Joseph’s daughter, Maddy Joseph, was among four senior starters for the 2012-13 team.

“Coach Joseph decided it was best to step down so she could spend more time concentrating on her children,” Betz said. “She did a wonderful job for us. Her stepping down was totally understood and creates a big void for our athletic program. She will remain invested as a parent and supporter.”

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