Mabel Chamblin Michael R Jones Marie I Simmons Ray Johnson One thing to remember this President’s Day Adams County Deer Harvest down over 21% MLSD amends five-year budget, prepares for future with power plant closings Lady Dragons triumph in sectional opener Lady Hounds eighth graders capture SHAC Tournament title Gary L Fetters Sr Boys Sectional brackets released ‘We’re only as good as the way we treat others’ Another round of smiles Adams County Board of DD members recognized Terry L Unger 8th Grade Lady Devils ousted in tourney semis WU’s McCarty signs with Ohio Christian Joyce A Huddleson Carolyn Spires BREAKING NEWS: Peebles police search for man accused of selling marijuana-laced sweets Decision Time BBN Senior Profile: Summer Grundy Lady Devils fall to Southeastern, 56-48 Devils outlast Manchester 47-44 in double overtime Peebles holds second Hall of Fame Ceremony Senior Profile: Patrick England Sowards hits 1,000, ties PHS three-point mark County agencies prepare for sweeping budget cuts Manchester Council votes to cut police chief’s hours Wrestling debuts in Adams County Peebles Library hosts book signing As plants power down, community must step up Raymond P Dryden Alva Palmer Billie L Shoemaker Judith Long Brent A Arn Girls basketball sectional pairings announced WU’s Weeks will continue gridiron career at next level West Union JH Boys drop pair at Ripley Eighth Grade Lady Hounds roll into SHAC semi-finals Janet A Kennedy DP&L moving ahead with plans to close power plants Outreach Center in Peebles is a hub of giving River Sweep contest winners announced Gordley hits 1,000 mark, but Indians drop crucial SHAC contest to Lynchburg Manchester lifters compete at Piketon Senior Profile: Madelyn Sanders Charles L Hurd Randy Casto Bobby Strunk Dorothy J Scott Chester A Lanter Coach David Smalley picks up 500th career win at Rio Grande Dustin Holbrook Senior Profile: Camron Gordley As usual, optimism abounds on 2017 Reds Caravan Breeze, Beasley newest members of NAHS Athletic HOF Two humble men Adams County Manor Home Health Care makes road to recovery easier Don and Venita Bowles named as Outstanding Fair Supporters ‘Tip off For Tammy’ is a huge success, joint effort by two schools Husted campaign makes stop in Peebles Benefit held for double-lung transplant recipient I loved that muddy water, building in the creek Margaret E Broughton Larry A Hanson DP&L press release confirms closing of power plants Eighth grade girls showdown lives up to hype, North Adams wins in overtime, 45-43 Senior Profile: Raeanna Stamm North Adams Football sign-ups coming soon North Adams JV girls go 11-4 with win over Peebles Harper wins MaxPreps/JJHuddle Athlete of the Week West Union duo headed to the college gridiron Lady Devils make it 11 straight with win at Peebles Adams County residents attend Trump Inauguration A Look back at our Archives Peebles native comes home to film documentary Ohio Valley Wrestling Cub hosting home match on Jan. 31 Ruth A Branscome Velma Hughes Carol L Lewis Betty L Greiner Devils top New Boston 63-53 in finale of Coach Young Classic Lady Devils rout Eastern Pike in Young Classic Indians bounce back with 67-59 win over East OHSAA Baseball Pitch Count Regulation approved for 2017 At the buzzer, Rothwell gives Dragons an overtime win Greyhounds fall to Portsmouth Lady Indians roll past West Union 80-29 From Division II to the Senior Bowl COSI On Wheels visits West Union Elementary News from the Peebles PTO NAJH Basketball hosting ‘Play For The Cure’ Jan. 28 North Adams Elementary recognizes Students and Staff Members of the Month for December Honoring a coaching legend Benefit will assist double-lung transplant patient Peebles to be featured in new documentary Cleaning the stables-the worst job on the farm Wenstrup reselected to serve on House Intelligence Committee

Local hoops coaches resign

Aaron Lockhart, shown here making his point with official Chris Moore, recently resigned as boys varsity basketball coach at Manchester High School, citing family reasons for the decision.

Coach Trent Harrop, in his unmistakable bow tie attire, turned in his resignation as the boys varsity basketball coach at West Union High School, citing time away from his loved ones as one of the main factors in his decision.

The boys basketball sidelines in Adams County will have a different look in the 2015-16 season as two local coaches have decided to hang up the whistle for the time-being, leaving openings to be filled at half of the county schools. West Union head coach Trent Harrop, who spent three years at the helm with the Dragons, and Manchester’s Aaron Lockhart, owner of three district titles with the Greyhounds, have both made the decision to step down from their respective head coaching positions.

Both coaches say that family issues are the biggest factor in their recent decisions.

“The decision to step down was a very difficult one for me and for my wife as well,” Harrop told The Defender. “We thoroughly enjoyed the time we spent working with the West Union players in the summer and the winter. The decision to step down came down to a combination of time and distance issues.” Harrop and his wife are both teachers in the Western Latham School District.

“Heading up a basketball program is extremely time consuming and makes it very difficult to find hours to sleep and eat, let alone spend as much time with loved ones as you would like,” Harrop continued. “I look at the other long-term coaches in the area and tip my hat to them and their families for the sacrifices they must make to do the job they do. With my current job and living arrangement, I just can’t maintain the schedule any longer.”

For Lockhart, the reasoning is somewhat similar but also influenced by the birth to he and his wife Leslie of a son last September.

“This was one of the toughest decisions that I have ever made, to step away from my second family and a passion of mine,” said the former Greyhound head coach. “Last season was the hardest for me personally, not the coaching aspect, but the time away from my wife and son. Aveyn was born at the end of September, about a month before practices started. I tried to balance everything but a wise friend of mine once told me that that there isn’t a balance. Man, he was right.”

“After the season ended, I began to pray and talk to Leslie about our plans moving forward. I continued to work on off season basketball items but I was still undecided and unsure of the future. After a lot of prayer and reflection, I felt the best move for my family and me personally was to step down. I felt that I couldn’t give both the full attention that they deserve. High school basketball has become a 12-month sport for the programs that want to be successful and the hours for coaches have become countless.”

Both coaches experienced successes at their respective schools, with Harrop’s record with the Dragons improving each year up to 15-9 this past season and Lockhart’s teams earning three district titles and a trip to the Elite Eight where they were just seconds away from a Final Four trip to Columbus.

“I don’t know that I did anything that someone else, given the same opportunity, could not have accomplished,” says Harrop. “I hope that the players who attended the camps, practices, and other clinics during my tenure understand the game better. I hope that their desire to play the game of basketball has increased and they understand what to value about the game. I love basketball and I think that many of life’s lessons can be learned through participation in such a high intensity team sport.”

“If during my years at West Union, I was able to inspire players to join in my love affair for basketball, then I would point to that as a success. I am disappointed that we were unable to advance beyond the sectionals. I felt like the last two seasons we had teams that were prepared to compete at the district or regional levels but our tournament draws left us out early. I wish the boys could have experienced the taste of a long tournament run.”

Lockhart’s early teams, some of the most memorable in Manchester history, did experience those long tournament runs, being annual visitors to the Ohio University Convocation Center to capture three district titles and play in a regional final at the Barn in Columbus. The coach is proud of all that his players have accomplished.

“I tried to never get caught up in my personal achievements, but rather focus on my teams and players,” said Lockhart. “I’ve been blessed with great young men and while I am proud of their accomplishments on their hardwood, I have to say that after graduation, they have made me even more proud to have coached them. Several of our players have excelled in the military, which isn’t surprising to me since they were such great teammates. Others are excelling in college and there is nothing more pleasing than to see their name in the paper for making the Presidents or Deans Lists. We have had several enter the workforce who are also doing exceptionally well for themselves.”

As with anyone who leaves a successful job, there are going to be times when both coaches will find themselves missing what was so much a part of their lives for so long.

“I already miss so much about coaching,” said Harrop. “Summer camps, summer shoot outs, and summer leagues are always a lot of fun as you are attempting to figure out new players at the varsity and other levels. In season, I will miss practices the most. The atmosphere surrounding the games in Adams County is phenomenal and always a lot of fun. However, practice is where you get to make a difference and positively bond with your players.”

I will miss the relationships with players and colleagues,” says Lockhart. “I enjoyed the daily grind of practices, from players personally developing into a team that grows and works as a unit. The other rewarding aspect of coaching was being able to assist in the maturation of the young men in the program. We have had several kids come a long way in four years that we got to work with them and I will miss that kind of blessing.”

Whenever a coach in any sport leaves the sidelines for a period of time, the itch to get back in the action is always there. Both Harrop and Lockhart are not quite ready to think that far ahead yet, but the door seems likely to remain open.

“Even as I resigned I missed coaching,” said Harrop. “Basketball has been a way of life for my family and I am sure that when the time and situation is right I will seek a job working again with that orange ball. As for now, I will satisfy my cravings helping other area coaches when they allow.”

“I hope to find ways to still be around the game and help with player development, just on a part-time basis,” says Lockhart. “I don’t think I will ever fully stay away from the game. My son is eight months old, so we have a few years before he starts playing. I will probably join the coaching ranks in the stands this upcoming season.”

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2016 People's Defender