In an era of an abundance of coaching turnover, what’s the magic formula for enduring 32 years as a high school head coach?
According to veteran Twin Valley South boys basketball coach Tony Augspurger and his counterpart at Brookville, Jeff Davidson, that’s a three-part life lesson: Love what you do, be a difference-maker and bring the passion.
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“There’s nothing better than being a player, but coaching is fun,” said Augspurger following Monday night’s 60-58 loss to visiting Brookville that was decided in the final seconds.
“It’s a way of getting that competitive Jones in. I’m still competitive. And I love kids. If you’re going into education and don’t love kids and working with kids, then you’re in the wrong business. I’ve had a lot of great kids here. They work hard and play hard and try to do what I ask of them and that makes it rewarding.”
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Wes Turner hit the game-winning layup with six seconds left in what could be a Division III postseason preview. Both teams are 17-3 following the non-conference matchup that was twice rescheduled because of unsafe winter weather. Barring upsets, they’re headed to a rematch in the upcoming D-III sectional at Northmont in about three weeks.
Wade Turner led Brookville with 16 points. A.J. Eller added 13 points and John Gudorf 10. It was Gudorf, Brookville’s all-time career assists leader, who drew the Panthers’ defense and fed Wes Turner for the winning basket.
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Willie Bowman led TV South with 21 points. Jayden Bassler had three 3-pointers and 19 points, all in the second half. Nate Osborn added 12 points for the Panthers.
In his 32nd season at TV South, Augspurger is the dean of Cross Country Conference coaches and has the dual role of athletic director. He’s even outlasted the CCC, which will disband and rebrand itself after conference members recently informed Bethel, Miami East, Covington and Fort Loramie (football only) they will be dismissed.
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A Willard grad who played basketball at the University of Akron and Walsh, teammates call him “Coach A.” An animated sideline presence, he’s constantly pleading for the Panthers to respond. It works. Just 9-14 last season, TV South already has clinched a share of the CCC title.
“You can tell he has a real love for the game and really knows what he’s talking about,” said Bowman, a senior. “You can tell he loves kids, even though it’s a tough love most of time. I’ve never played for anyone like him. I’ve played for a lot of coaches, but none as loud as him.”
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Davidson is a Versailles grad who played on a state title football team as a senior in 1995 and state runner-up baseball team. He’s in his 19th season coaching boys basketball at Brookville and 13th as head coach.
“I had head coaches who fed that passion,” he reflected. “I learned to have a coach’s mentality as a player. The main thing that keeps me coming back is the kids. You have to earn their respect and I feel we’ve done that at Brookville. Coaches don’t do it for the pay. You see kids mature and come together as a team and buy into what you’re preaching. When you see that, and it comes to fruition, it’s so rewarding.”
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Brookville, a No. 4 sectional seed, has clinched a share of the Southwestern Buckeye League Southwestern Division title and can win it outright by winning at Valley View on Friday. TV South, a No. 5 seed, can win an outright CCC title by winning at Arcanum on Friday.
Brookville and TV South are favored to win two tourney games. That would set up a D-III sectional final rematch at Northmont. Both teams open the tourney on Friday, Feb. 22 at Northmont, Brookville vs. Greenon and TV South vs. Greeneview.
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• Carroll (20-2) tied for the D-II girls basketball state poll championship and Fort Loramie, Minster and Tri-Village went 1-2-3 in D-IV in the final rankings that were released by the Associated Press on Tuesday.
It’s the first time Carroll has been named a girls poll champ. The Patriots were first or second all season and lost only to Beavercreek and Minster in a regular-season final last Saturday. Carroll drew 11 first-place votes and tied Poland Seminary (20-0) for first in D-II, each with 159 points. In third was unbeaten New Philadelphia (158). Trotwood-Madison (18-2) was No. 7.
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Fort Loramie (20-1) defeated Minster in the regular season and remained No. 1 in D-IV from that point. Minster (20-1) is the defending D-IV state champ. Tri-Village (20-1) lost only to defending D-III state runner-up Versailles in overtime in Game 2.
Waynesville (21-0) finished its first unbeaten regular season as No. 3 in D-III and West Liberty-Salem (19-3) No. 10. Centerville (20-2) rose as high as No. 2 in D-I, but slipped to sixth after a blowout loss to Wayne on Saturday that ended the Elks’ regular season.
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The boys basketball state poll champs will be announced next week.
Alter 69, Roger Bacon 37: Brady Uhl had 21 points, Rich Kolb 13 and Stephen Harker 12 and the visiting Knights (12-9) won their fourth straight in a rescheduled game.
Covington girls 69, Troy 28: Samantha Whiteman hit five 3-pointers and scored 30 points for the visiting Buccs (18-3) in their regular-season finale. Covington is a No. 2 seed in the girls D-IV sectional and Tri-Village No. 1.
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