Westerville South High School boys basketball coach Ed Calo taught his son Anthony everything he knows about the game, from playing to coaching.

Westerville South High School boys basketball coach Ed Calo taught his son Anthony everything he knows about the game, from playing to coaching.

Both have ultra-competitive personalities and are driven to win, but they love and respect each other too much to become coaching rivals.

That was the plan, at least until the OCC realigned its divisions.

The new configuration put Anthony's Olentangy Orange program in the OCC-Buckeye Division with South. The teams play their first league game against each other Jan. 6 at Orange.

It won't be easy for either of them. Ed is in his 30th season at South and his program is at the height of its power, starting with six consecutive victories after winning its first state championship in March.

Michele Calo said her husband once vowed to quit coaching before he would face his son.

"He said he was going to quit coaching before he was 60 (years old), but he's still going. He also said that he would quit before he coached against Anthony and that doesn't seem to be the case, either," she said. "He loves his son and he loves coaching, and it's something he'll get through."

Anthony played for his father at South, graduating in 2003. He was an assistant coach at South for three seasons and then spent one year under then-Orange coach John Betz before becoming the Pioneers' head coach before the 2012-13 season.

The original goal was for South and Orange to play as little as possible. They wouldn't schedule each other during the regular season and would try to avoid meeting in the Division I district tournament.

The OCC realignment changed that.

"It is what it is, but it's not what we planned," said Anthony, whose team won three of its first five games this season. "When I got this job, we were going to try to align the programs as much as possible and do as much together as possible (without playing during the regular season).

"We would have open gyms. We scrimmaged together. The kids would shoot around together. We both saved one of our scrimmages so we could play after the regular season to get each other ready for district. That's probably not possible now that we're in the same league."

But there are few rivalries like those in families, whether it's brother versus brother or father versus son. One role of a father is to teach life lessons to his children. Michael Calo, a 2006 South graduate, said his father made sure his kids learned the lesson of working hard for what you want to achieve.

"Dad is a unique guy," Michael said. "When we were younger, we weren't allowed to win when we were playing basketball against him. My dad is really competitive and he wanted us to work to get better. He wasn't giving anything to us. He wouldn't just let us win."

Michael confirmed his mother played the expected role of "peacemaker."

Michele has missed only five games since Ed started coaching, with two being for the midseason births of Michael and his sister Danielle, a 2004 South graduate. She found a silver lining in the unwanted coaching showdown.

"I like the idea of the game because I'll get to see Anthony coach," Michele said. "As the wife of a lifelong coach, to see your son coach is really special. Most of Anthony's games fall on the same night as the South games, so this guarantees I'll see him coach at least two times every year."

The matchup should be a treat for central Ohio basketball fans and longtime friends of the Calo family.

"For a long time, I wasn't sure I wanted to go to the game," Michael said. "But I have so many friends coming in from all over the country who haven't been to a South game in years. I'll probably wear neutral colors and just sit and watch the game with friends."

Michele expects her allegiance will be divided that night.

"I actually thought about the split (sweater) thing like some families do for the Ohio State-Michigan (football) game," she said. "I'll probably just go neutral and cheer for both teams to do well.

"One thing I know both Ed and Anthony won't like is that we're thinking more about them than the game itself. They both believe the game is about the boys on the teams, not the coaches."

In this case, however, the coaches are the storyline. Will Ed have his team let up if it takes a big lead? Will Anthony's team pull off an upset?

"Dad is the craziest competitive person that I know," Anthony said. "He gets pretty fired up, and he'll probably be that way (Jan. 6). But it's hard to get fired up to beat down on your son."

Ed takes pride in watching his son coach. The Calos won two of the four OCC divisions last season when South took the OCC-Cardinal title and Orange was the OCC-Capital champion.

"I'm sure other people see part of me when Anthony is coaching. I don't see it, though I'm sure it's there," Ed said. "I love seeing him on the sideline. ... It's hard to explain how proud I am. It's great that he's so successful."

It seems Ed, albeit reluctantly, has made his peace with coaching against his son.

"I'm 60 now and it doesn't look like I'm going to quit before (Jan. 6)," he said. "I'll know when I'm ready to get out of coaching, and I'm not ready for that just yet."

Game on.

shennen@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekHennen