Jones named girls basketball coach
Stephanie Jones has taken over the girls basketball program at Whitehall-Yearling High School with hopes of maintaining its recent success.
The Rams finished 13-7 overall last season under coach Libby McCandlish, who resigned because she is expecting her first child.
McCandlish, who also is working on her master's degree, coached the team for four years.
"It's going to be a little bit of a challenge," Jones said. "I talked to the previous head coach and they've had a couple girls go in a different direction and a few girls have graduated, so we're going to have to build a program here.
"My biggest goal is to get a youth program up and running (for) fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders. That's not in place yet."
Jones coached at Columbus School for Girls the past two seasons. Her teams finished 12-12 in 2010-11 and 1-20 last winter, when the Unicorns beat Grandview 28-26 for their only win. After a first-round bye, CSG lost to Johnstown 62-13 in the second round of the Division III district tournament.
CSG reached a district final in 2010-11, losing to top-seeded Africentric 74-45.
"This is a different opportunity," Jones said. "I just thought it was in my best interest to move on."
Before coaching at CSG, Jones was an assistant in the Hilliard Davidson girls basketball program for four seasons.
"When we saw her resume, we knew that this was someone we definitely wanted to look at," athletics director Mike Ferguson said. "I went outside of her references because she was a varsity assistant at Hilliard Davidson for four years, so I talked to a few different people and everybody was very, very high on her as a real up-and-coming young coach. Her interview was fabulous.
"It was hard to replace our former coach, Libby McCandlish; she was tremendous. It was a blow when she wasn't going to come back, but we think that Stephanie will be able to come in and fill those shoes and do a good job."
Jones graduated from Mount Gilead in 1996 and Capital University in 2001. She played basketball in high school.
A health and physical education teacher at Weaver Middle School in Hilliard, Jones takes over a Whitehall program that will play all its games away from home next season as a school renovation project continues.
Ferguson said the project should be finished in summer 2013.
"I knew that before I took the job," Jones said. "It's going to be a very tiring year for both the coaches and players with all the traveling. We'll make practice adjustments to try to stay fresh."
Last season, the Rams tied Granville for third in the MSL-Ohio Division at 9-5, behind champion Newark Catholic (13-1) and runner-up Licking Valley (11-3), and lost to second-seeded Hartley 38-27 in the second round of the Division II district tournament.
Whitehall defeated Buckeye Valley 36-34 in the first round.
"We're going to play an up-tempo game," Jones said. "We're just going to be very disciplined fundamentally. It has to start with fundamentals."
Rams' softball coach resigns
Lisa Morelli resigned June 11 as coach of the softball team to focus on her pursuit of a degree in educational administration.
Morelli coached at Whitehall for 18 years, including six as an assistant and the last 12 as head coach.
Morelli, who graduated in 1994 from Capital, where she played softball, guided the Rams to Division II district titles in 2000 and 2006 and district runner-up finishes in 2005 and 2007.
Whitehall shared the OCC-Capital title with Delaware in 2000.
This season, the Rams finished 6-18 overall after losing to Buckeye Valley 8-7 in the first round of the district tournament. Whitehall was sixth in the MSL-Ohio at 2-10.
"I feel that during my tenure here at Whitehall I have built a very respectable softball program in central Ohio," Morelli said.