The East Tartans have hired a familiar face to revive their girls’ basketball program.
After another down season last year, East hired arguably the most successful coach in the program’s history — Waltmon Monroe, who won four straight SOC I championships and earned four consecutive SOC I Coach of the Year awards from 2000-2004.
Monroe is eager to return to East, where he has nothing but fond memories.
“I remember all the good times I had with the kids, there were some good kids,” Monroe said. “They were so dedicated into the game. They wanted to play all the time. And all of the excitement after the wins, that’s what I remember the most.”
After spending the last four years as an assistant at Portsmouth, Monroe is excited to be returning home
“I’m really excited about it,” Monroe said. “I enjoy coaching. Coaching is my life. I’ve been doing it for 35 or 40 years. I enjoy it and being back home at East High School is really big for me.
“I’m an East fan. I graduated from East in 1969 and it’s basically my home, that’s why I wanted to come back.”
Now that he’s back, Monroe has one goal in mind — bringing the Tartans back to the top.
“That’s my goal,” Monroe said. “That’s why I came back. I watched all the games last year and I thought they needed some work, so that’s why I decided to come back to coach them. And it’s a great place to coach.
“I watched them play last year and I wasn’t real happy.”
Monroe has already had an opportunity to watch some of his players during an open gym portion of the summer.
“We’ve been having open gym and I’m getting acquainted with them really well,” Monroe said. “They’ve been working hard. I think they are excited about the way we’ve been coaching them.”
Monroe has already been instilling his philosophy in his players, which is learning the fundamentals of the game.
“The main thing with basketball is fundamentals,” Monroe said. “Those things have to be taught every night in the gym. I believe in working hard and getting all you can get out of the kids. Once you show them you really care, they will work hard.”
Monroe also believes to change the losing culture in the locker room is by teaching his players the right way to play the game.
“The biggest thing is getting them in the gym and showing them there is a good way to play basketball,” Monroe said. “It’s all about fundamentals. If you learn fundamentals, everything else will fall in place for you. We want to win every game we play and I’m starting to get the kids to understand how much work it takes, and they are starting to accept it pretty well.”
However, despite his basketball accolades, Monroe wants to teach his kids about more than just basketball.
“They need to play hard and want to be successful,” Monroe said. “It’s not just about basketball. It’s about teaching the kids the different ways of life and making good kids out of them. That’s my goal.”
Reach Chris Slone at 740-353-3101, ext 1930, or on Twitter @crslone.