Coach's return lifts West Carrollton's spirits, record

“Now that he can’t play, I always challenge him to a one-on-one,” said Myslowski, the Pirates’ emerging sophomore standout.

“All he does is use glass (bank shots). His range is about the paint. He uses the glass so good, it’s ridiculous.”

Some things never change, except for the betrayal of an ailing body.

That Gerhard is even back to coaching is a win-win situation for both Myslowski, his teammates and the staff.

Gerhard missed the first seven games while recovering from surgery to remove bacterial infection from a degenerative hip. His immune system had softened and the disease attacked his weakest link. That led to a partial left hip replacement.

As if that weren’t enough of a setback, his ailing mother died while he was in rehab.

He mostly walks with a cane now, and is unsteady at best, constantly shifting his hips and weight. But his return to the classroom and hoops was his best rehab.

“That was tough because you have plans and all of a sudden you’re saying I don’t know how long it’ll be, but I’ll be back as soon as I can,” he said.

He lasted just five preseason practices. His return to the team on Dec. 30 wasn’t soon enough for veteran assistant John Taylor and Skip Carter.

“I was so glad, it was a shame,” said Taylor, the former Meadowdale and Jefferson coach who took over in Gerhard’s role.

“We needed some leadership and we needed it in a hurry.”

That’s because West Carrollton was listing at 1-6. But since his return the Pirates are 5-2. Myslowski, a 6-foot-4 designated shooter, put 25 points on Greenville and went for 40 in a clutch defeat of Sidney.

“After he’s been back, we’ve really gotten together as a team,” said Myslowski, also the Pirates’ starting quarterback.

Carter was even more brutally to the point.

“We were lost,” he said.

“He’s the stability for the kids. He’s the stabilizer.”

He also was the state’s Class AAA player of the year for Chaminade’s unbeaten state champs of 1970 and started three years at Ohio State University. The remnants of those deft shooting days were what enticed Myslowski.

“I played on a lot of concrete when I was younger,” said Gerhard, who had both hips replaced when he was just 42.

“I thought then, well, it’s not cancer. I had my day playing. I was done playing basketball, softball, all the other things. ... I didn’t look at it as a bad blow. Actually, I feel pretty fortunate now.”

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