Columbus Academy: Vikings name girls basketball, swimming coaches

Frank DiRenna
ThisWeek group
Columbus Academy Vikings

Anthony Russo will succeed Craig Yakscoe as Columbus Academy swimming and diving coach, and Ashar Harris will replace Heather Rakosik as girls basketball coach.

Russo, 39, was a coach with the Ohio State Swim Club since 2011 before it disbanded in January, due mainly to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. He helped form Endeavor Performance and has coached current and former Academy swimmers. 

“I want to continue the tradition that’s always been there and then build on it,” Russo said. “The ultimate goal is to keep improving.” 

He is a 2000 graduate of Midpark High School in northeast Ohio and a 2004 graduate of Ashland University. He competed in swimming at both schools. 

Yakscoe guided the Vikings the past 16 seasons and 19 overall. Under Yakscoe, the boys team won 12 league titles and five district championships, and the girls won 10 league championships. 

Yakscoe will continue as the Vikings’ boys golf coach. 

A 2009 graduate of Africentric, Harris helped the Nubians win Division IV state titles in 2007 and 2009 and earn a runner-up finish in 2008. 

“That is something I plan on discussing (with my new team) after we get acclimated with each other,” Harris said of her past success. “I’ll give them a little background on myself and where I came from and where I’m trying to take the program.” 

She played collegiately at Morehead State for three seasons and at Lake Erie College for one. 

Harris, 30, was later an assistant coach at Africentric and New Albany, including guiding the Eagles’ junior varsity team. 

“I’m looking forward to seeing what I can do with this program,” she said. “I’m going to be able to mold it in the way I would like to mold it instead of already having a group of girls that I have to mold and pass on to a varsity coach. I get to implement my own coaching style.” 

In Rakosik’s two seasons, Academy went 16-24 overall and 6-14 in the MSL-Ohio Division.

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekFrank