Boys basketball: ‘Coach A’ stepping down after 33 years at Twin Valley South

Twin Valley South recently named its home court — Coach A Court — to honor boys basketball coach Tony Augspurger, who is retiring after 33 seasons. Mike Champine Photography
Twin Valley South recently named its home court — Coach A Court — to honor boys basketball coach Tony Augspurger, who is retiring after 33 seasons. Mike Champine Photography

Tony Augspurger is 100% positive he’s graded his last assignment come June.

He’s fairly certain he’ll have coached his last basketball game, too.

“I love being a teacher, but I don’t want to grade any more English papers,” Augspurger said. “I’m ready to be done. As for coaching – it’s going to be interesting the first year or two out to see if I’m truly done, because I’ve been doing it for a long time. As of right now, I feel like I’m done.”

»RELATED: Thursday’s high school roundup

Following this season, Augspurger, 57, is stepping down after 33 years as the head boys basketball coach at Twin Valley South High School. He owns a 451-291 career-record (all at TVS). Augspurger is also retiring as an English teacher and athletic director.

The Panthers (4-18) open postseason play next Thursday against the Cedarville-Yellow Springs winner in the Division IV sectional at Troy High School. Tip is 6 p.m.

A Willard High grad who played basketball at the University of Akron and Walsh, Augspurger returned to TVS in 1987. He had been a student in the district grades 8-10. His first season the Panthers went 19-3.

Augspurger credits former Eaton coach and friend Walt McCutchan for helping him land the TVS gig.

“Walt called and said, ‘Twin Valley South’s open, they have some talent and an English position,’” Augspurger said. “I applied and it worked out. I was 24 years old and they agreed to take a chance on me. This school and community has been a great fit.”

Over his tenure, Augspurger’s teams won six Cross County Conference championships (including last season) and six sectional championships. In 1994, TVS beat Mariemont for a D-IV district title, before falling to Botkins in the regional semifinals.

Coaching his sons – Anthony (2015 grad) and Andrew (2017) – are among his career highlights. So are game-day experiences with his daughter and 2013 grad Olivia, who was a cheerleader.

Augspurger was named the CCC Coach of the Year five times and the Southwest District and Ohio AP coach of the year twice.

“I never applied for another coaching job,” Augspurger said. “Twin Valley South and I were a really good for each other.”

The run culminated with last Friday’s home finale.

Surrounded by over 60-plus former players – including two from his first team (Dan Bassler and all-time leading scorer Mark Erslan) – Augspurger was recognized during a ceremony between the junior varsity and varsity games in which the TVS floor was renamed Coach A Court in his honor. The Panthers beat Arcanum 51-49 in overtime on a buzzer-beater by 6-foot-4 senior Cole Petersen.

“Whoever decided to let Hollywood slip into West Alexandria for an evening so we could get an overtime at the buzzer game-winner on that night to make a great experience even better was awesome,” Augspurger said. “I feel comfortable with the decision I’ve made.

“I’m walking away with some what-ifs, but no regrets.”

Speaking of Buzzer-Beaters: When Springfield senior Jordan Howard hit an unlikely three-quarter court heave on Feb. 11 for a stunning 52-51 win over visiting Beavercreek on Senior Night, Beavers head coach Steve Pittman's immediate

emotion was disappointment. That feeling transformed when it was learned Howard’s shot had come a day after his grandfather’s passing.

“That was a heartbreaker, but something good came out of it,” Pittman said. “When I sat back and thought about the grand scheme of things, I was happy for that kid, but more importantly – I was proud of that kid, because I have to think his grandfather was looking down and was proud of him as well.

“Some things are out of your control.”

The Wildcats and Beavers, who finished second and third, respectively, in the Greater Western Ohio Conference American Division, could meet again in a D-I district semifinal on Feb. 28 at Butler. Both would need to win two postseason games first.