The turnover of longtime Greater Western Ohio Conference boys varsity basketball coaches continues with Tony Clemens’ hire at West Carrollton High School.
Clemens, a JV head coach at Trotwood-Madison the last three seasons, succeeds an ailing Dan Gerhard, the dean of area Division I coaches with 27 seasons in two terms with the Pirates.
Clemens joins Mark Hess of Beavercreek as new GWOC coaches who were named to their positions since last season ended. In the last three years the GWOC also has seen the departure of veteran coaches Jim Staley (Centerville), Troy Holtrey (Springboro) and Jim Brown (Northmont). Staley was named Tippecanoe’s new coach last spring.
“I’m glad to be part of the ‘youth movement,’ the young guys coming in,” said Clemens, 43 and a Cedarville native. “Those guys before us set the standard.”
It’s the first head coaching position for Clemens, but he’s well-versed in the GWOC. Besides being a varsity assistant with Trotwood coach Rocky Rockhold the last three seasons, he also was a varsity assistant with Nathan Chivington of Fairborn for three years. Fairborn and West Carrollton are in the GWOC South Division.
Gerhard resigned last spring and Clemens landed the position in late June. He’ll teach special education as an intervention specialist at West Carrollton High School.
“I’m glad that West Carrollton was able to take a chance on me and give me the job,” said Clemens, already a fixture in summer conditioning and a JV league at Centerville. “We have nowhere to go but up.”
That’s because West Carrollton bottomed out in Gerhard’s final season, going 0-23. The Pirates have won one GWOC South game the last two seasons. In the 2011-12 season West Carrollton was part of a group of five GWOC South teams to post a winning record (12-10).
Clemens cited seniors Mehdi Hossein (13.0 points, 2.3 assists, 1.5 steals) and Alex Craig (11.6 points, 7.9 rebounds) as key returners.
Gerhard has minimal mobility and and walks with a cane. Three years ago he underwent a partial hip replacement after contracting a bacterial infection. He has said his knees are unstable, too.
He attributes his failing legs to years of pounding on concrete while playing basketball. Gerhard was the state’s player of the year in 1970, helping lead unbeaten Chaminade and Eagles coach Jim Turvene to a big-school state championship. He also played for Fred Taylor at Ohio State.
“West Carrollton had a down (season) last year, but before that they were extremely competitive,” Clemens said. “It’s been a lot of fun. We’ll do some good things. I’m looking forward to the opportunity.”