MIDDLETOWN — Kevin Aldridge is shifting gears in his girls basketball coaching career.
Aldridge, Middletown High School’s head coach the last four seasons, is moving on to another Greater Miami Conference school as an assistant. He’ll be joining Harry Phillips’ staff at Hamilton, pending school-board approval.
“I’m excited about this next chapter,” said Aldridge, 39. “My time at Middletown was so positive. I wish the program well. I’m going to continue to follow the players I’ve worked with in the past, and I expect them to accomplish what I expected them to accomplish while I was there. But now my attention is what I need to do at Hamilton.”
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The 1998 Middletown graduate said his decision to leave the Middies is based on business and family reasons.
Aldridge is the president and founder of Kingdom Vision Outreach, a nonprofit organization that specializes in character development through sports, fitness programs, college prep sessions, etiquette training and youth services. And his business is expanding.
“Anytime you reach expansion mode, you’ve got to provide a little more attention to those details,” said Aldridge, who’s also a co-pastor at Church on the Rock in Middletown. “A lot of our business is in Middletown, but it’s a national organization, so we provide those services outside the area.
“Being an entrepreneur and with my family and ministry, I really had to take a deeper look at the demands on my time. It was going to be very difficult for me to continue on that path as a head coach. However, I still felt like I contribute to coaching.”
His record at Middletown was 31-61 overall, 16-48 in the GMC and 0-4 in the postseason. The Middies were 13-10 in his first season at the helm in 2015-16, the program’s only winning record since 1987-88.
Aldridge coached in the Middletown boys program for six years before taking the girls job.
“Anytime you can start your coaching career at your alma mater, it’s pretty special,” he said. “I’m very appreciative of all the experiences, good and bad, that occurred there because it helped shape me into who I am today as a coach and as a person.”
The opportunity to become the varsity assistant at Hamilton came at the right time. Phillips wants to make Big Blue a consistent winner, and he believes adding an individual with head coaching experience is a step in that direction.
“We’re making moves. If you want to call that expanding, that’s fine,” Phillips said. “You look throughout the GMC and other districts, their varsity assistants are head-coaching talented. We’ve had good teams, but I think we need to start looking at building our staff for the longevity of a better program.”
Phillips is also the associate pastor at Greater Harvest Church in Fairfield.
“I’ve known Kevin a long time. He and my son played against each other in high school,” Phillips said. “We’re pastor friends, and we’re not just building a basketball program. It’s a kingdom ministry kind of thing.
“Coaching-wise, what I’m not, he is. That’s where we really started talking about how we can make this work.”
HHS was 27-42 in Phillips’ first three years as head coach and hasn’t finished higher than sixth in the GMC. His teams are also 0-3 in the tournament.
“Kevin has the ability to build programs from the bottom up with his KVO program and the youth programs he’s working with, and we’re looking to take that knowledge and apply it to the Hamilton City School District,” Phillips said. “That’s a weakness of mine now that I’m not working in the district as an employee.
“He’s had more success establishing recruitment for college. I’m not saying that’s a weakness of mine. I just haven’t been successful yet.”
Middletown hasn’t replaced Aldridge and is still working toward hiring a new athletic director. Outgoing AD Aaron Zupka said it makes sense to give the new athletic director a chance to help with the selection of a new coach.