Ever since Stuart Ross resigned in late June, there's been growing speculation about who will be the new head coach of the Kennett High School basketball team.Ross informed Kennett a few weeks ago that he would be stepping aside after two seasons to take the head coaching job at Penn State Brandywine.
His departure leaves the Blue Demons searching for a coach for its upcoming 2008-09 season, which begins in a little more than just four months.
Kennett's next coach will be its third in five years.
One particular name that is always mentioned each time there's an opening at the school is that of Dan Augustine.
Augustine, one of the most successful coaches in Kennett basketball history, spent 10 years coaching the Blue Demons. During his final season in 2000, Kennett went 26-0 on its way to the district crown, before suffering its only loss of the season in the first round of the state tournament.
Reached last week, Augustine said that every time the job comes open at Kennett he contemplates it.
"I don't know yet if I'm going to apply," said Augustine. "I haven't made my mind up one way or another.
Kennett is where I went to school, and it was a big thrill to coach at my alma matter for 10 years. It's really the only place I would want to coach at.
"I enjoy the time with my kids, though, and it's a big commitment of time in order to do the job well, and that would take away from my family. So I just don't know if the time is right."
Sources familiar with the coaching search at Kennett say that Augustine would be the school's No. 1 choice, if he in fact, were to apply for the job.
If not, there are other candidates that have expressed interest in the vacancy, including Ken Riale and Dan Falcone, who have both coached at Kennett in the past.
Riale was the junior varsity boys' basketball coach at Kennett from 1986 to 1998, and also was the Kennett girls varsity basketball coach for two years. Riale, who is currently the head boys' tennis coach at Kennett, said last week that he has already applied for the basketball opening.
"I'm definitely interested in the job," said Riale, adding that he didn't wish to comment any further at the present time.
Falcone, who was the head basketball coach at Kennett for two years (2004-2006) and an assistant under Rick Nelms when the Blue Demons won the PIAA Class AAA state title in 2002, said during an interview last week that he is considering applying.
"I would like the job again, but only if Augustine or Riale doesn't want it," said Falcone, a teacher at Kennett, who cited personal reasons and furthering his education for resigning in 2006. "The program definitely needs someone who knows what Kennett hoops is all about, in terms of tradition, etc."
Among the other names that have been rumored to be interested in the Kennett job are Scott Barker (former Avon Grove High head coach), Jesse Drelick (current Coatesville High assistant and former Unionville High assistant) and Chris Loeffler (current Avon Grove High assistant).
Whoever becomes the new head coach at Kennett will have some serious work to do. The Blue Demons have won six or fewer games in each of the last four seasons, going a dismal 19-77 overall during that time.
Prior to that, the Kennett basketball program had established itself as one of the most respected in the state. From 1999 to 2004 for instance, the Blue Demons won over 80 percent of its games (110-25). The highlight of that run came in March of 2002 when Kennett won the PIAA Class AAA state title by routing West Mifflin in the finals at Hersheypark Arena. It was, and still is, the only team in Kennett High School history to capture a state championship.