New Franklin Community High School girls basketball coach Josh Sabol understands he’s following a legend.
He considers it a perk and a challenge.
“I’m honored and privileged,” said Sabol, whose approval at Monday evening’s school board meeting makes him the successor to Walt Raines, who in 28 seasons guided the Grizzly Cubs to a 339-272 record before retiring from coaching in February.
“(Raines) has always been so wonderful to me,” Sabol said. “I’m humbled to be following in his footsteps.”
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Sabol, the varsity assistant for Center Grove girls basketball coach Shawn Sanders from 2010 to 2014, has been head coach at Decatur Central the past two seasons.
The Hawks posted a 6-17 mark this season and were 3-19 in Sabol’s first season. Decatur Central has had only four winning seasons the past 16 years and has had five coaching changes during that span.
Sanders said Franklin fans shouldn’t judge Sabol by his .200 win percentage at Decatur Central.
“Josh’s work ethic is second to none, and his basketball IQ is off the charts. He has a very creative mind offensively. But the one thing that stands out to me his Josh’s ability to relate to people,” Sanders said. “He pushes kids to their potential, and they love him for it.
“At Franklin, I’m not going to lie, he’s going to be a hard coach to go up against. I’m going to have to be a better coach to coach against him. We’re going to have to outwork Josh, and that’s not an easy thing to do.”
Sabol teaches physical education in the Decatur Central system. However, beginning the 2016-17 school year he will split time as a physical education teacher at Webb Elementary School and Union Elementary School in Franklin Community Schools.
Sabol and his wife, Molly, have been Johnson County residents for 12 years. The Sabols’ two young children attend schools in the Center Grove School Corporation.
“The one thing I’m really excited about is the people here. This is home,” Sabol said. “What makes me feel prepared for this job that I was at Center Grove and then Decatur Central, where everything had to be built from scratch. There was nothing in place.
“I’ve been at both ends of the spectrum.”
Sabol said the up-tempo style of play the Cubs will incorporate offensively is going to energize players and fans. He has yet to completely round out his coaching staff, though the plan is to bring Decatur Central assistants Ben Carroll and Randy Boone with him.
“I think the community is going to love our style of play. We’re going to get up and down the court, and to play that style you have to play a lot of kids,” Sabol said.
Greenwood Community High School coach Lee Taft is another soon-to-be rival familiar with what Sabol brings to the Cubs.
“Josh is a complete coach. His ability to build a culture is off the charts, and his understanding of how to teach makes his teams better very quickly,” Taft said. “As good of a coach I think he is, his character is even more impressive.”
THE SABOL FILE
Name: Josh Sabol
Born: Honolulu, Hawaii
Family: Wife, Molly; daughters, Sophia, 10, and Suri, 6
High school: Waterford (Michigan) Kettering (1997)
College: Central Michigan University (2001)
Favorite TV show: “Seinfeld”
Favorite food: Pizza
Favorite movie: “Rocky”
Favorite athlete: John Elway
Favorite team: Detroit Tigers