The search to find a new boys varsity basketball coach for Manchester High School came to an end last week as the Manchester Local Board of Education tabbed 28-year old Kyle Pertuset, a 2005 graduate of Minford High School, as the new man for the Hounds for the upcoming 2015-16 season.
Pertuset comes to the Greyhounds after two seasons as the varsity head coach at Lucas High School near Mansfield, where he took over a program that was in the midst of a 55-game losing streak and then managed two wins in his first season and doubled that total this past winter.
“I am originally from southern Ohio and a graduate from Minford and Shawnee State University and I was fortunate enough to get the Lucas job, but I always knew that I eventually wanted to come back home,” Pertuset told The Defender in an exclusive July 4 interview. “This is a great opportunity and I was fortunate enough to get the job.”
“I sent an e-mail to Manchester after I heard that the job was open and then I sent them all my information and got an interview, and about a week later here we are.”
Pertuset will be working as a substitute teacher for the upcoming school year, working on his Master’s Degree as an Intervention Specialist, as well as leading the Greyhounds.
Pertuset’s love for coaching began when he was in the seventh grade when he assisted in the coaching of a Pee-Wee basketball squad.
“I remember when I was a youngster that I always told my Dad that if I didn’t make it as a pro basketball player, I’m going to be a coach,” said Pertuset. “I kind of figured out that the NBA wasn’t going to be in my future.”
Pertuset is not coming to Manchester cold turkey, with no knowledge of the school and the Southern Hills Athletic Conference.
“I’m pretty familiar with the area and the conference,” says the new Greyhound head coach. “Basketball is very important to people here and I’m excited about people’s passion for the sport, especially in the SHAC.”
“It’s a great conference to play in and I did my student teaching at Peebles under Josh Arey so I had an early connection to the conference.”
To catch up, Pertuset is spending countless hours watching film of last year’s Greyhound team, trying to get a feel for the personnel that he may or may not be aware of.
“I have a pretty decent idea of what our strengths will be and what we can do,” said Pertuset. “Michael Walls did a nice job this summer of making sure our kids were in the gym so they didn’t get too far behind, taking them to a couple of shootouts and just keeping them playing. The kids have been down at the MEAC playing a lot so I don’t think the balls have just been laying around collecting dust. They’ve been playing so I’m feeling pretty good about the summer though I just got here.”
Pertuset also talked to The Defender about what Manchester basketball fans can expect when his team hits the hardwood this winter.
“We will be fundamentally sound and we will play smart,” Pertuset says. “We will take care of the basketball, rebound, and defend. I have a pretty decent idea of what we will run on offense and how we are going to play. I’m not real sure yet about how fast we will play, but if I have a choice I like to play fast and get up and down the court. I like to press so hopefully we will be able to run up and down the court, pressure the ball, and at the same time, grind it out on offense and get valuable possessions.”
“If someone comes to watch us play next year, hopefully they will leave thinking we are a smart basketball team that does things the right way.”
Pertuset has coaching experience in his pocket, beginning with two years as the junior high coach at Minford, where he also assisted with the varsity squad. From there, he moved on to Piketon for two years in the same role, junior high coach and varsity assistant, followed by the aforementioned two years at Lucas High School.
Pertuset comes to Manchester with goals for the program, from the youngest players all the way to the varsity squad.
“I want everyone to be on the same page,” says Pertuset. “The youth leagues and junior high are your feeder programs where it all starts. Those kids are your future so I want to sit down with all the youth basketball coaches about what we need to have put in place when the time comes and get it rolling.”
“I eat, sleep, and breathe basketball and I’m a student of the game and I don’t think a day has gone by in the last eight to ten years that I haven’t at least looked at some kind of basketball. I’m obsessed with the game and it never feels like a job to me.”
With Pertuset hired as the varsity head man, Walls will be moving up to the boys JV position, while Collin Flannery will be leading the junior high programs for the Hounds.