By Paul Jones
The Red Lion girls basketball team has been a powerhouse in York County. Under former coach Don Dimoff, the team won a total of 14 York-Adams county championships, along with a streak of 12 straight from 2001-2012.
However, Mr. Dimoff is coaching at Millersville University now, leaving a coaching vacancy for the team for the first time in 22 years.
“Don was here for 22 years,” Athletic Director Arnold Fritzius said. “So we knew going into it that finding somebody to replace Mr. Dimoff was going to be virtually impossible.”
The impossible was reached however, as the next coach was found right within the program. Assistant coach, Bill Novak, was elevated to the head coaching position and done so at the suggestion of Don Dimoff himself.
“He was very familiar with the system that we run, the things that we do and I wanted as much cohesion as possible with the transition of myself to a new coach,” Mr. Dimoff said. “I thought that he was the best option to do that being that he is familiar with the girls, he is familiar with the program, he is familiar with the things that we have ran. I had a very strong feeling that he would continue those things and it made me want him to get the position.”
A smooth transition of power was important to the coaching change and the girls themselves would be important in doing that.
“I think that it really helped. Me and Don have known each other for a couple of years and we have the same philosophy,” head coach Novak said. “Working together last year really tied everything together, but I would say that the biggest thing is the players. They have really embraced me and what I bring to the table.”
In addition to Novak being an assistant here at Red Lion, he was previously the head coach of Northeastern High School’s girls basketball team since 2012-2013. While coaching at Northeastern he helped turn a program that had won only 22 games in the previous three years, to a team that went to the state playoffs in 2015. But he gave up that coaching position in order to gain another with the Lions.
A program revival will not be needed at Red Lion, however, as the Lady Lions are coming off of a county championship season. With a plethora of returning players, Red Lion will be in a position to compete at a very high level once again.
Even with a coaching change, senior forward Kynslee Shepherd feels confident about everything that has gone on.
“It was comforting to know that we would not have to relearn everything that we have been running,” Shepherd said. “With six returning varsity players, this year we are going to to go out strong and we are excited for what is to come.”
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