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Levister takes long-time pal’s offer to head up ’Jacket hoops

Levister takes long-time pal’s offer to head up ’Jacket hoops

Posted: Tuesday, June 4, 2013 12:00 pm

By MIKE HUTCHENS
Press Sports
Mike Riggs turned to an old friend to find his new head boys’ basketball coach.
The Greenfield High School principal confirmed Monday that he’d hired Chad Levister — a childhood buddy and fellow Dresden High School alumnus — to take over the Yellowjacket hoop fortunes.
The position had been vacant for three weeks since the resignation of Pete Angelos, who ended his seven-year tenure (92 wins, 90 losses) at the school to take a similar position at Henry County High School.
Riggs insisted he knows what he’s getting with Levister — both on the hardwood and off.
“I’ve known Chad all my life. I know how hard he’ll work, the attitude he’ll bring and the expectations he’ll have of our kids,” the G’field administrator said. “He student taught with me here and he’s a Weakley Countian and will be a good school person.
“It’s not just what he’ll bring as a coach, but his morals and values, too, that made him the best candidate.”
Levister, who was one of eight persons to apply for the position, has spent the past six basketball seasons as an assistant to highly-successful Westview girls’ coach Sean Stephenson.
Ironically, on the same day Angelos announced his intentions to leave G’field, Levister formally relinquished his duties as Westview’s head baseball coach after four years in that position in which the Chargers posted a 37-68 record.
The 46-year-old Levister would be considered a “late bloomer” by conventional coaching standards.
He joined his father, Larry, in the business sector at Reynolds Brothers Tire Company for “16 or 18 years,” he said, before coming to the realization that he wanted to coach on the organized level and for real.
“I was involved with my kids through AAU and both little league and Babe Ruth, and I just came to terms with this is what I wanted to wake up and do every day,” Levister told the Press Monday while in Waynesboro helping Stephenson with the Lady Chargers at team camp.
He went back to school to complete his degree requirements and helped Stephenson on a volunteer basis before becoming a fulltime aide while teaching at Sharon the past four years.
Levister noted the recent successful run of Angelos the past three seasons (49-32) when the ’Jackets regularly held their own against District 14A’s ‘Big 3’ of Humboldt, Lake County and Union City.
“I know they’ve had a run of really good players the last few years, and even though several of them of graduated, I still think this is a good job,” he said. “Greenfield has a tradition of success even before that, and the community has a great reputation of supporting both its kids and its coaches and programs.
 “Everybody knows how difficult the district is, but Greenfield knows how to win. I’m just looking to carry on the tradition that they’ve had there. And I truly believe if somebody puts in the hard work, they’ll reap the benefits because of all support already in place there.”
The Yellowjackets finished this past season with a 16-8 record, falling in the 14A quarterfinals.
Levister, who’ll teach some wellness at the high school level and P.E. in junior high, will help with the middle school ranks, too, in his first season. Both he and Riggs said he’d likely will assume the responsibilities of the entire hoop program eventually.
Riggs admitted their past gave his same-age friend an advantage when it came time to choose Greenfield’s new coach.
“When you know somebody like I know him, it certainly gave him a leg-up in the process,” the principal said. “He understands our situation and wants to have his hands on the entire program in the building process.
“He won’t use this job as a stepping stone to go somewhere else. He’s in it for the long haul. This is what he loves doing and wants to do.”
The new GHS skipper believes he’s ready for the task.
“I’ve been fortunate to gain great experience under Coach Stephenson and get to three state tournaments in my time on the Westview bench,” Levister concluded. “I got to observe and learn, and I’ll know what to expect when the day comes that we at Greenfield get there.
“I’m so appreciative of that opportunity and this one I have at Greenfield. Working for Mike, somebody I’ve always had great respect for and kept in touch with over the years, is something I always wanted to do. He coached both my son and my daughter, and we’ve had countless conversations over the years as friends and fellow coaches. I look forward to continuing that relationship.”
He already has a friend in the boss’s office.

Published in The WCP 6.4.13

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