New boys basketball coaches were named at Pickerington High School Central and North.
Eric Krueger was promoted from interim coach to head coach at Central during the Pickerington Local Schools Board of Education’s April 28 meeting, and Jason Bates was hired to succeed Jerry Groves at North.
Krueger led the Tigers to OCC-Ohio Division and Division I district championships for the third consecutive year this past season, having taken over the team in early January when head coach Jerry Francis was sidelined by a stroke and back surgery. Central won its first eight games under Krueger and finished 20-6 overall and 11-3 in the league, tying for the league title with Gahanna and Newark.
“It’s been a crazy year, and I’m excited to call myself a head coach,” Krueger said. “It’s definitely a blessing. We’ve been functioning mostly as normal with open gyms, and now we can move forward and continue to put things together. I felt a lot of support from our players and the program during the (interview) process.”
Bates was 95-39 in six seasons at Walnut Ridge, including Division I district runner-up finishes in 2011 and 2012 and a City League-South championship this past season. The Scots were 19-5 overall and 13-1 in the league this year.
“I like the whole community aspect of Pickerington, that there’s a feeder program and there’s the opportunity to get the program back on the right track,” Bates said. “(North) has a track record of excellence and I’m excited about raising basketball to meet the level of success of their other sports.”
Groves coached North on an interim basis this past season after Pete Liptrap’s retirement in June 2013. The Panthers were 3-20 overall and 2-12 in the OCC-Ohio, seventh in the league.
Groves decided not to seek the job on a full-time basis.
Also on April 28, Laura Fender and April Keys were approved as the new girls volleyball coaches at Central and North, respectively.