By VINCE PELUSO
After a two-year stint as the Jefferson Falcons boys basketball coach, Jeremy Huber is stepping down as coach.
That decision was made, not based off performance or a lack of desire to coach anymore, but that his new duties as Jefferson high school principal are just too much to balance both.
“It’s just a lot to do both,” he admitted. “(As principal) you’re still around. You’re covering events, you still sneak into open gyms and those things. It’s just a different capacity.
“My time coaching Jefferson has been a joy. I really appreciate the effort the kids put in.”
While Huber’s record at Jefferson wasn’t as impressive as his run at Pymatuning Valley, he didn’t think that was reflective of the success the Falcons had.
In his first season Jefferson saw a major spike in wins, going 10-11.
The Falcons took a slight step back this year going 8-16, but Huber thought that record was deceptive.
“The first year was successful I thought then this year wasn’t as successful record-wise,” he said. “But a couple bounces here or there and we’re having just as good a season or better than we did the year before.
“We had to deal with (starter) David’s (Chase) injury too so I think we were better than that record.”
Huber’s team did win a tournament game this year, defeating Conneaut in a Division II sectional semifinal, which was something the Falcons were unable to do in Huber’s first season.
The strong finish to the season was something Huber was proud of.
“It was nice to finish strong after not getting off to a good start, we were better than the record showed,” he said. “Brett Powers got better as the season went on. Troy (Bloom) had a very consistent season. He’s a smart player, I don’t think a lot of people saw that coming, but he became a good shooter. It was nice to see him blossom.”
Huber complimented all his seniors over his two years, saying they provided good leadership for their teams.
“The first year, the three seniors — Connor Cleveland, Johnny Knight, Jeff Buchans — did a good job and provided senior leadership,” he said. “Connor and Johnny got the ball to the basket. They worked really hard, as did Jeff and they got better every day. They were a joy to coach. Connor played hurt early on, we win a couple more games if he doesn’t get hurt. It’s funny how a silly play here or there can hurt you looking back.
“This year Jacob Hamilton, even though basketball is his third or fourth love, he was a great leader who goes hard and put in a lot. Unfortunately Tony Chiacchiero got hurt because he was a streaky shooter who could make a lot, a real physical and nice kid, too. All the seniors were great, though. It was nice coaching these guys.”
Taking over for Huber will be varsity assistant Steve French, who has been on Huber’s bench for both of his seasons at Jefferson.
Robert Faulkner, who was a junior high coach this season, will be the team’s JV coach.
Huber said it’s nice to leave the program in the hands of coaches he knows.
“They’ll put their own mark on Jefferson basketball but it’s nice to know they sincerely like basketball,” he said. “They sincerely like putting in the time. That’s the nicest thing I can say about them, they’re not doing it for the wrong reasons. They enjoy coaching.”
Huber, who was coaching throughout the summer, said it’s been a strong summer that should set up for a successful season.
“We’ve been going at it pretty hard,” he said. “It’s been a busy summer and they’re going strong.”