Boyle picks interim boys hoops coach

July 18, 2004|MIKE MARSEE

Ronnie Bottoms, a former Boyle County assistant and a middle school coach for the last four years, has been named Boyle's interim boys basketball coach for the 2004-05 season.

Boyle officials decided to hire an interim coach and conduct a thorough search next spring that will allow them to have someone in place for the 2005 summer program. So they turned to Bottoms, a 1983 Boyle graduate.

"It's in the best interests of our program right now to go with a coach for one year instead of making a mistake in the hiring," Boyle athletic director Jim Spears said.

No matter what happens this winter, Bottoms will apparently be Boyle's coach for only one season. He works outside the school system, operating a company that sells playground equipment, and Spears said the school prefers to have a teacher in the position.


Bottoms said "one and done" is fine with him.

"That's the only way I want it," he said. "I can sacrifice for a year, but it'd be real difficult to do any more than that. It's not feasible."

Spears said the decision to hire an interim coach came Friday after former Danville coach Ed McKinney turned down Boyle's offer on Friday. Spears there were limitations that might not allow them to hire the kind of coach they wanted.

"We want to make sure the program continues moving in the same direction coach (Andy) Moberly left it, moving forward," Spears said. "We feel like we can be an elite team in the 12th Region, and we want the right coach."

Bottoms, 39, has coached all but one of Boyle's returning players during his tenure at the Boyle middle school.

"His passion for Boyle County athletics and our basketball program runs so deep," Spears said. "We've already met with the kids this morning and the staff, and it went famously well.

"We knew that he would have the support of the kids and their families and the community."

Bottoms, who spent seven years as a varsity assistant under Mike Pittman in the 1990s, said he looks forward to the coming season.

"I like what we've got up there," he said. "There's a lot of talent. I think that we can compete right off the bat."

Bottoms said he was surprised when Spears contacted him Friday, but he said he understands the school's dilemma.

"They were in a position where they were limited with teaching positions, and they asked me if I would consider doing this for a year to give them time to make the right choice," he said. "(Spears) didn't want to put the new coach any further behind than what they were.

"I'm sure some people are going to question this interim thing, but I think that Jim's got the best interests of the basketball program at heart."

One of Bottoms' chief concerns was making sure the transition would be smooth at the middle school, where an interim coach will also be put in place.

"I love those kids, and I kept going back to that yesterday, that I hated leaving them," he said. "But I realized if we made this decision for a year, it would help those kids probably for the next four years. I just wanted to make sure those middle school kids are going to be OK."

Bottoms said he plans to return to his position as middle school coach next year.

Spears said five people were interviewed for the position that was vacated when Moberly resigned last month, but he declined to say how many of them were offered the job.

He said Boyle had only one teaching position available through most of its search.

"We have a number of very qualified people we would like to have had very serious conversations with, but we didn't have certifications in the jobs they had," Spears said.

With the school year starting in just three weeks, time was also a factor, both in the fact that it would be hard for some candidates to switch jobs and uproot their families and because the new coach would have already missed the summer season.

"We feel like the June summer practices are just essential for the success of whoever comes in," Spears said.

So the search will begin again next spring, but Spears said Boyle won't be starting from square one.

"We learned things about coaches that I didn't know. That puts you well ahead of the process," he said.

Spears said although some behind-the-scenes work may be done this fall and winter, he said the job won't be posted and interviews won't be conducted until after the season, and he said he doesn't expect any action to be taken before the 2005 spring break.

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