Middies set to start interviews for boys basketball coaching job

The Middletown Middies boys basketball team held their first game in the new Wade E. Miller Arena at Middletown High School Friday, Dec. 9 in Middletown. Lima Senior won 75-32. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
The Middletown Middies boys basketball team held their first game in the new Wade E. Miller Arena at Middletown High School Friday, Dec. 9 in Middletown. Lima Senior won 75-32. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Middletown High School is looking for someone to bring back that old “Middie Magic” to its boys’ basketball program.

After deciding not to renew coach Darnell Hoskins’ contract, the Middies are set to start interviews next week for a replacement. The deadline to apply was Tuesday, and athletic director J.D. Foust said there are 30 candidates, ranging from college assistants down to junior varsity head coaches and varsity assistants.

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Middletown is in the process of forming a hiring committee, and the first round of interviews will begin Monday, according to Foust. The goal is to complete that process by April 20 and announce a hire shortly thereafter.

“I feel like it’s a good pool,” Foust said. “We have a few head coaches in the area that have applied. It’s definitely a strong pool of candidates, and it’s going to be a competitive process.”

Hoskins, a former University of Dayton Flyer and Chaminade Julienne graduate, was hired to replace Mark Baker ahead of the 2016-17 season after six successful years at Thurgood Marshall, where he led the Cougars to two Division II state final fours, a state runner-up and an annual top 10 state ranking.

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That success didn’t translate to Middletown, which went 38-77 in five seasons under Hoskins. The Middies were 9-13 this year.

“We decided to go in a different direction,” Foust said. “Coach Hoskins is a class act. I think we both had the understanding five years ago he was brought here to win, and he wasn’t able to do that. There also was a bit of a disconnect for him living in the Dayton area and having to travel down here. Where we are with the state of the program takes a lot of development and reaching out to youth. The program just got stagnant after his stint here, and I felt it was time to try to get the bus back, get someone new in, bring in some new energy and see what kind of success they can have.”

Foust has a clear picture of what he is looking for in the next head coach. The ideal candidate would have head coaching experience, be a veteran of player development and familiar with college recruiting and have AAU connections and experience developing youth programs.

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“The best would be someone with Middie ties, someone familiar with the ‘Middie Magic’ of the past, to try to regain that ‘Middie Magic,’” Foust said. “Someone truly invested in the city and basketball program.”

Foust said there are some candidates that fit that mold, individuals who were former Middies or previously on the coaching staff.

Middletown hasn’t experienced a winning record since 2013-14 when the Middies were 19-7 and were Greater Miami Conference co-champions for a third straight season. The program is graduating seven seniors from a 15-player varsity roster. Junior Johrdon Mumford was a second-team All-GMC pick this season.

“We believe we can get this program back on track and look forward to finding the best candidate to do that,” Foust said.

Foust also announced the hiring of former Oak Hills wrestling coach Joe Campolongo on Wednesday. Campolongo spent seven years at Oak Hills and had 89 dual wins as a head coach, guiding one state placer, six state qualifiers, 34 district qualifiers and five GMC champions during his time there. He also is a former president of the Southwest Ohio Wrestling Coaches Association.

“We’re excited to get him working with our kids,” Foust said. “He checks every box as well to elevate our program to the next level.”

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