The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Sports

May 21, 2013

A Don McCormack column: Home fires burn for Fitch

Paying another visit to the variety store...

Homecoming

It didn’t take long for Ryan Fitch to find a new “home” as a basketball coach.

The former Pymatuning Valley varsity boys coach, who resigned after an 18-6 campaign this season, was recently named the head coach at his alma mater — Champion High School.

Fitch spent four seasons at the helm of the Lakers, posting a 61-27 record (.693).

A 1985 Champion graduate, Fitch teachers at Badger High School and lives in Howland, so the move back “home” makes sense.

“I like to think I’m coming back to give back to the school that gave so much to me,” Fitch, who replaces Doug Foster at the helm, told the Warren Tribune’s Matthew Peaslee. “From athletics to academics, Champion prepared me for life.”

Fitch was a multisport standout during his high school days as a Golden Flash. He played soccer, basketball and baseball at Champion, earning a scholarship to Roberts Wesleyan, located in Rochester, N.Y.

He began his coaching career as a junior high coach in Warren, then spent three seasons as a junior-varsity assistant at Howland. He took over the as the head boys coach at Badger for year, moved to Lakeview as an assistant for three seasons, then Liberty for a season before moving on to Pymatuning Valley, where he had the arduous task of following Jeremy Huber as varsity coach.

Fitch admits the drive to live in Howland, teacher at Badger and coach at PV made life a bit difficult.

“Anything that was closer to home would be a step in the right direction for my career,” Fitch said. “This couldn’t have worked out any better.

“Champion is the ideal spot for me.”

Fitch’s junior-varsity coach, Ryan Shontz, was named as his replacement a few weeks ago.

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