Kelven Moss talks about the future of Marshall High School in Middletown on July 25, 2017. GREG LYNCH/STAFF

Prep basketball: Former Middie Moss eager for new challenge at Fenwick

MIDDLETOWN — Kelven Moss has enjoyed a diverse basketball coaching career that’s taking another unique turn.

The 2001 Middletown High School graduate spent the last three years as the head men’s coach at Miami University Hamilton, and it was announced Friday that he’s returning to the prep ranks as the head boys coach at Fenwick.

This will be his first coaching job at a parochial school.

» RELATED: Kreke out at Fenwick after 30 years, 380 wins

“Their fans should know that I’m passionate about the game, that I’m excited and anxious to help develop these guys on and off the court,” Moss said. “I truly believe in helping people and being a great leader with a lot of community outreach. They’re going to get a high-energy, well-prepared guy and a well-prepared staff.”

Moss, 35, was the associate head coach under Dwayne Terry at MUH for one season.

He has also been a head coach with the Middletown girls for two years and the Espiritu NFL YET College Prep Academy boys for one year in Phoenix, Ariz. He was an assistant in the Middletown boys program under Bob Ronai and Josh Andrews.

Fenwick athletic director Michael Coleman said Moss was chosen from approximately 25 applicants.

“He was the guy that continued to rise to the top through the rounds,” Coleman said. “The committee was impressed with his background and impressed with his ability to win everywhere he’s been. He’s really a stellar guy in terms of character. He just had a lot of the right pieces.”

Moss is replacing Pat Kreke, who was dismissed after 30 years and a 380-306 record as the Falcons head coach.

Coleman has said Fenwick’s search would be focusing on a transformational coach. Asked for his definition of the word “transformational,” Coleman responded like this:

“It’s closely tied to the (Ohio High School Athletic Association) goals for high school coaches and high school interscholastic programs, and that’s just having education-based athletic programs. That’s our purpose, to have a program that’s wholistically looking at the development of the student-athlete in mind, body, spirit, academically, socially and intellectually.

“There’s a lot of communication going on now with what happens in high school sports sometimes, things kind of becoming misplaced. Sometimes we forget about the development of the kid. The transformational piece is a part of coaching that helps you to be better equipped to wholistically develop kids in the right way.”

Moss said he understands Coleman’s vision.

“He wants a transformational leader, and I think I kind of fit that mold,” Moss said. “He wants to see some new energy, something different, and we’re totally on the same page. I’m not in denial of Kreke’s legacy. He’s a great coach, a great guy who’s done an awesome job with the program. I just really want to enhance what he’s built there.”

Moss compiled a 64-27 record in three seasons at MUH, winning three Ohio Regional Campus Conference regular-season titles and two conference tournament crowns.

Middletown girls basketball coach Kelven Moss guides his team during a game at Fairfield on Dec. 10, 2014. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY E.L. HUBBARD

He won’t be a teacher at Fenwick. He’s the assistant director of operations at Marshall High School in Middletown.

“My brother-in-law actually talked me into it,” Moss said of applying for the Fenwick hoop position. “He called me one day when I was at work and said, ‘Hey, I think you’d be a good fit at Fenwick.’

“After a few days of processing it and talking with my wife, I decided to apply. Literally like 30 minutes after I applied, I got a call from Mr. Coleman. We chatted about the opportunity and my background, and it just went from there.”

Moss considers John Rossi, who coached at Middletown, Madison and Fenwick and now heads the Franklin girls program, to be a mentor and father figure. Rossi coached Moss for one year when he played for Middletown’s freshman team.

In regard to Fenwick’s style of play, Moss wants to pick up the pace.

“We’re definitely going to play a little faster,” he said. “We’re going to share the basketball, play together and cause havoc on defense. We’re going to be diverse defensively and disciplined on both ends of the floor with a lot of communication. We’ll have a lot of ball-screen action offensively, spreading the floor and giving guys the opportunity to be the best version of themselves within the offense.”

Moss said he’s in the process of building a coaching staff, noting that Bill Edwards Jr. will be one of his coaches.

As a player at Cumberland (Tenn.) University, Moss was part of a 28-6 squad that reached the NAIA Sweet 16 in 2003-04. He has degrees from Cumberland and Concordia (Calif.).

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