First-year Heath High School boys basketball coach Devin Fulk isn't having too much trouble adjusting to his new colors.

First-year Heath High School boys basketball coach Devin Fulk isn't having too much trouble adjusting to his new colors.

A 2004 Licking Valley graduate who starred there in both football and basketball, Fulk played basketball at Wooster before being hired to replace former Bulldogs coach Jason Baker, who is now at Austintown Fitch. Baker went 33-74 in five seasons at Heath, although last year's team finished 13-8 overall and went 8-6 to place fifth in the MSL-Ohio Division behind champion Lakewood at 11-3.

"It hasn't been too bad, really," Fulk said. "My coaches there at Valley, they're mostly all gone now. The only real connection I have left is (football coach and athletics director) Randy Baughman."

Fulk, who played quarterback and point guard for the Panthers, isn't deterred by the fact that he has nine seniors to replace, either.

"It's kind of a new start for everybody," he said.

Fulk, who was an assistant on Baker's staff last season, has two returning lettermen in senior guard Jerrod Ridgeway and 6-foot-4 junior Roger Gleckler. Ridgeway will be counted on to provide scoring as the only returning guard with varsity experience. Gleckler is versatile enough to play any of the No. 3-5 spots on the floor.

The only other senior is guard Brandon Crihfield. Junior Jordan Crabill is expected to be the point guard. Sophomore Jalen Daniels also can handle the ball. Zach Wolfe, a 6-4 forward/center, will contribute as well as junior guard Cole Benner, although Benner still is recovering from a knee injury that he played through in football. The roster is rounded out by junior guard Janden Grady and sophomore forward/center Rodney Porter.

Last year's graduates included Division III honorable mention all-district guards Lucas Barrett (13.8 points per game) and Alex Van Dine (12.4 ppg) and 6-6 center Trey Matthews, among others.

But as a multi-sport athlete himself, Fulk is encouraged by the fact that 15 of the 31 players in the program played football, five of whom will be on the varsity. The Bulldogs advanced to the football playoffs this fall for the first time since 1990, finishing 10-2 overall.

"It's a new experience having the basketball kids here coming in a little late because they haven't had to make that quick transition from football before," said Fulk, who will make his debut when Heath opens Dec. 8 at Johnstown. "But you gain valuable experience by competing at that level, so it's a good thing."