Westerville News & Public Opinion

Girls Basketball

Kloepfer fired after 11 seasons at North


Coach Jim Kloepfer will not have his contract renewed after 11 seasons leading the Westerville North High School girls basketball program.

The Warriors finished 19-6 overall last season after losing to Pickerington North 50-47 in a Division I district semifinal. They won their second consecutive OCC-Cardinal Division championship and have won 33 of their last 34 league games, including 30 in a row at one point.

“They said that they want to go in a new direction. That’s what I’ve been told,” said Kloepfer, who was 152-97 at North, with three league titles, and guided the Warriors to their only district championship in 2004.

Kloepfer was league Coach of the Year three times, including the past two seasons. He was Division I district Coach of the Year in 2013.

“Coach Kloepfer has done a great job for us, but we have been thinking of going in a different direction,” athletics director Vicki Saunders said. “In the state of Ohio, contracts are up for renewal every year.”

The Warriors lost only two players to graduation and expect to return the nucleus of the back-to-back league championship teams. Senior guard/forward Symone Simmons leads the way after being named league Player of the Year the past two seasons. She also was first-team all-district last season, averaging 16.0 points, 9.7 rebounds, 2.0 blocks and 2.5 steals.

Senior guards Hannah Ferguson (9.0 points, 3.3 assists, 2.0 steals) and Anna Gibbs (8.9 points, 2.1 assists, 1.6 steals) are expected back after earning second-team all-league honors last season.

Senior forward Devin Jackson (4.1 points, 3.1 rebounds) and junior guard Ronni Royer (4.7 points) also are expected to return.

Saunders said she expects “there will be no shortage of qualified candidates with what coach Kloepfer has done with the program.”

Kloepfer will continue as a guidance counselor at North.