McDERMOTT — Rick Scarberry and his son Drew have pretty much been a basketball tag team.
The father coached the standout son at Northwest as part of an original 11-year stint, then stepped away and followed Drew’s collegiate career.
Now, as of Tuesday night, the Scarberrys —a true basketball family for sure —are back at Northwest, as Rick was hired as the boys varsity head coach with Drew planning to be a first-year Special Intervention instructor in the district and a program assistant.
He is the third new boys basketball head coach for a Southern Ohio Conference Division II team — joining the legendary Norm Persin at Valley and Heath McKinniss at Oak Hill, who replaced Persin there.
Scarberry last coached the Mohawks when Drew was a senior — in the 2014-15 campaign.
That ended an 11-year run in Red and Blue, and followed him coaching the Lady Mohawks for two years — which proceeded an 11-year stint leading the Rock Hill boys.
He spent 31 years in education, before finally retiring as Northwest High School principal following the 2016-17 academic year.
Scarberry is a 1981 Green graduate, and assisted that program last season on a volunteer basis with former head coach Dirk Hollar.
But both Scarberrys, including Drew after an excellent career at Notre Dame College, have returned to Roy Rogers country.
His daughter Devan Scarberry, a Northwest standout herself in both volleyball and basketball, is the new Shawnee State University volleyball head coach.
“I wanted to watch Drew play college ball, so that’s why when he graduated I gave it up then. I wanted that time to follow him,” said Rick Scarberry, in a telephone interview on Wednesday night. “I am excited about being back, and Drew is going to be helping me at some level, and Northwest has always held a special place in my heart. I’ve got more time to do it again, and basketball and coaching is my blood. Northwest has always had good kids.”
But the current Northwest players were all in elementary school when Scarberry last coached there.
“I don’t know these kids. When Drew was home on college break, I would go watch them when I had a chance, but I didn’t see a whole lot of their games. It was more just wanting to go out and catch a basketball game and meet and talk to some old friends I hadn’t seen in a while,” said the coach. “I was watching them play without planning on being their coach starting next year. They kind of know Drew, but they are not familiar with me.”
As for meeting his new players, Scarberry said he planned to set up a “virtual introduction meeting” in the near future, as Northwest’s schools —like ALL other school buildings in Ohio — are closed until at least July 1 in response to the coronavirus threat.
“I want to get to meet them and establish some things where they can work out on their own and send me videos of what they are working on. As long as basketball is part of the OHSAA’s no-contact order, then these guys are left to conduct their own workouts,” he said. “They can do dribbling, passing, shooting, lifting, some other drills. We want to at least get the ball rolling with that.”
Scarberry said several basketball players at Northwest — like most schools in Southeastern Ohio — also participate in fall sports such as football, soccer or golf.
He said June is the usual month involving summer workouts with shootouts and team camps, but the closure of high school and college facilities forces all programs to make significant summer schedule shifts.
With the Ohio High School Athletic Association under a mandatory no-contact period (for basketball) thru May 31, and with an Ohio Department of Health order which has closed the state’s schools facilities through June 30, he may only have the month of July with his new Mohawks —prior to fall sports season.
However, the OHSAA could ultimately extend its dead period until Aug. 1.
“We may only have them for two weeks in July. A lot of them play other sports in the fall, and others will relax in July or go on vacation. This year, it’s going to be different for everybody. When you first take over a team, that first summer is especially important, ” said Scarberry. “You want to see who you have and what skills they have and how those skills mesh in a team setting. Not getting that time in June this year is going to be difficult.”
Although, basketball indeed is a 12-month activity for the Scarberrys.
At Green, Rick played for three head coaches with three distinct styles — Frank Barnett, Bob West and Mike Hughes —before continuing his career at Ohio University, where he was a member of the 1984-85 Bobcats which won the Mid-American Conference regular-season and tournament championships and advanced to the NCAA Tournament.
In the era of a 45-second shot clock combined with no three-point arc, the Bobcats’ 48-39 loss to the University of Kansas remains as the lowest-scoring NCAA Tournament tilt since the field expanded to 64 teams that same season.
Scarberry coached at Rock Hill throughout the 1990s and captured six sectional championships with three district runners-up, then won back-to-back Division II sectional titles with the Mohawks in 2010 and 2011.
Last year’s young Mohawks went just 4-19, as the program has fallen on hard times with wins and losses the last few seasons.
Scarberry seeks to turn things around.
“We need to re-establish mental toughness and hard work and the will to win,” he said. “I want the kids to get the chance and I will give the kids the chance. But they have to be willing to work and put the time and effort in if they want to improve. I am looking forward to working with them and getting the program back to winning with regularity again.”
With him tag-teaming with son Drew, the Mohawks hope to take steps upwards over the next few winters.
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @BoggsSports © 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved