The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio


July 22, 2013

A Don McCormack column: Turnover aplenty in boys hoops

No matter how many games are won or lost, or which teams, if any, make any kind of run along the tournament trail, the 2013-14 will be one of historic proportions for Ashtabula County boys basketball.

The subtitle for the 2013-14 campaign is obvious — The Season of Change.

For come December, when the season tips off, six of the eight boys basketball programs will have new men at the helm.

The list of the departed:

  • Geneva — Scott Torok.
  • Grand Valley — Luke Strohm.
  • Jefferson — Jeremy Huber.
  • Lakeside — Mark Taylor.
  • Pymatuning Valley — Ryan Fitch.
  • St. John — Ryan Harco.

The list of the guys filling their shoes:

  • Geneva — Matt Vespa.
  • Grand Valley — Matt Brumit.
  • Jefferson — Steve French.
  • Lakeside — To be determined.
  • Pymatuning Valley — Ryan Shontz.
  • St. John — Jon Hall.

That leaves only Tim Tallbacka at Conneaut and John Bowler at Edgewood as the men who will be returning to their respective sidelines in the 2013-14 season.

How rare is this much turnover for boys basketball in Ashtabula County?

Consider, our research goes back more than a century — to 1896, to be exact — and we've never found a season with this much change in terms of head coaches from the previous campaign.

In fact, the most changes we have for the county as a collective from one season to the next is three.

Our records show that has happened only six times in county boys basketball history:

  • 1965-66.
  • 1983-84.
  • 1992-93.
  • 1993-94.
  • 1998-99.
  • 2011-12.

The holdovers

Tallbacka, a star during his playing days at Harbor High School and then at Hiram College, will be entering his eighth season at the helm at Conneaut. He has been a varsity boys basketball coach in the county for the last 14 seasons, three at Ashtabula, four at Lakeside and the last seven at Conneaut.

“This is a situation that, really, circumstances have led to such a big turnover happening,” he said. “It’s just one of those things, I believe.”

Bowler, who played at Ashtabula High School, has spent seven seasons as head boys coach in the county, the last two at Edgewood and a five-season run at St. John (from 1987-88 through 1991-92).

“Isn’t this amazing?” Bowler said with a laugh. “It’s definitely strange, when you think about how many guys have changed.

“But it’s just the situation. Like (Jefferson coach) Jeremy. He was offered an opportunity to become a principal and that’s something he just couldn’t turn down, so he had to give up coaching.”

Text Only
  • BB1 Walk on the wild side

    Going into the bottom of the third inning Tuesday, things were looking pretty good for the Madison Blue Streaks at Edgewood.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rick Peck A Rich Kelly column: Rick Peck... his legacy born at CLA

    We all leave a legacy of our persona as we pass from this world to whatever the future holds for us.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • BB2 Scholastic Statistics:

    Edgewood 14, Madison 3
    at Higgins Field, Edgewood

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Area High School Softball Statistical Leaders:

    INDIVIDUAL BATTING (minimum 15 at-bats)
    PLAYER    SCHOOL    AVG    OB%    SLG%    AB    R    H    2B    3B    HR    RBI    SB
    Brittany Baitt    Riverside    .645    .667    .806    31    11    20    3    1    0    8    0
    Cassidy DiFranco    Riverside    .588    .632    .647    17    7    10    1    0    0    0    0
    Alyssa Chadwick    Conneaut    .563    .630    .625    32    12    18    2    1    0    6    5
    Alyssa Irons    Jefferson    .526    .526    .632    19    5    10    0    1    0    9    2

    April 23, 2014

  • Scholastic Schedule:


    Niles McKinley at Lakeside (4:30)
    Bloomfield at Conneaut (4:30)
    Maplewood at Grand Valley (4:30)
    Riverside at Edgewood (4:30)
    PV at Mathews (4:30)
    Orange at Perry (4:30)

    April 23, 2014

  • Tribe Royals crown Wahoos to split first two games

    The concerns about Indians starter Danny Salazar continue to grow.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Edgewood SB Warriors whack Struthers

    Edgewood softball coach Steve Cunha’s main focus for the season centers on his team playing well in the All-American conference. In their inaugural season as part of the AAC, the Warriors continued their strong start by defeating visiting Struthers, 8-2, on Monday afternoon.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Falcons go the extra Niles

    Jefferson coach Scott Barber knows good things usually happen when you put the ball in play and put pressure on the opposing team’s defense.

    April 22, 2014

  • Emotional rescue

    Three Ashtabula area runners joined 36,000 of their closest friends Monday during the 118th rendition of the Boston Marathon.

    April 22, 2014

  • Spartans stymied

    Ursuline pitcher Makayla Shore freely admitted she didn’t quite have her best stuff against Conneaut on Monday at Skippon Park. Despite that fact, the hurler tossed a no-hitter to beat the Spartans, 10-0.

    April 22, 2014

Sports Week in Review April 14 to 19
Sports Week in Review April 7-12
Spring Sports Practice in Ashtabula County
2014 AP BB Tourney Top 25
2014 AP BB Tourney Scoreboard
2014 AP BB Tourney News
2014 AP BB Tourney Photos
Star Beacon-Ed Batanian Senior Classic
Girls Regional Basketball Action
Week of Champions
Sports Week in Review February 21, 22
Grand Valley at Edgewood Boys Basketball
Sports Week in Review Feb. 3 to 8
Sports Week in Review January 30 to Feb. 1
Sports Week in Review January 13-18
Sports Video Archive
House Ads
AP Video