Friday, April 03, 2009

Sports columnist Aaron McFarling: Hidden Valley girls basketball team gets Bush as coach

After serving the 2008-09 season as Hidden Valley’s interim leader, the job will now be permanent.

What began as a short-term commitment, a simple offer to help, has evolved into a long-term partnership for Randy Bush and the Hidden Valley girls basketball team.

School officials announced Thursday that Bush will remain the coach of the Titans, a position he took on an interim basis last year.

“He did a tremendous job,” athletic director Chris Morris said. “We had all the confidence in the world in him to continue with it.”

The bigger question was whether Bush would want to keep the job. He initially signed on as a stopgap assistant to Brenda King — hoping one year as an aide would ease her transition from Pulaski County — but was thrust into the head role when King was diagnosed with cancer before the season.

“We were all really hoping that Brenda was going to win this fight that she had and be able to coach us in the future,” Morris said. “I think as the season went on, we saw that the outlook wasn’t great.”

King succumbed to the disease on March 10, the night before the Titans fell in the Group AA Division 4 semifinals.

Bush steered the team deftly during the difficult times. The Titans started 5-10 but won 10 of their final 12 games as the players began to adjust to a coaching style honed on the football field.

“Once we started jelling, I met them halfway and they met me halfway on a lot of the Xs and Os,” Bush said. “That’s when we started taking off and playing pretty decent.”

Still, Bush was unsure if he’d be able to continue beyond this season. He cleared it with his employers and his family, then made an arrangement with new football coach Scott Weaver. Bush, a five-year football assistant, will relinquish his duties as head JV coach but remain on staff as the special teams coordinator this fall, allowing him more flexibility.

“I’ve got a good rapport with a lot of the football players and I didn’t want to leave them hanging,” Bush said. “On the same end, I’ve got to be 100 percent behind the basketball team.”

And the administration is 100 percent behind him.

“I always joke with him that he’s a football coach trying to coach basketball,” Morris said. “And I think he overcame that, just through the situations and bringing forth the experience he had and the knowledge he had from before, I think he was able to adapt to it. I think there’s probably a lot of people out there that couldn’t adapt to it the way he did.”

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