For all the flack the Warren County High School administration has earned in this space, it is only right to heap praise when it’s due. Warren County made a great hire Wednesday in picking Anthony Lippe to take over the girls basketball program.
It’s the second strong hire WCHS has made in the last month, the first being new football coach Matt Turner. For a group of people who looked like they were only capable of striking out – looking – when tough decisions needed to be made, Lippe and Turner are a pair of home runs for the administration.
Lippe, in particular, was a layup.
Almost his entire coaching career consists of being in Warren County, starting back in 2011. He’s had success at every stop, including a two-year stint with the Lady Pioneers that culminated in the program’s first winning season in two decades in 2014.
There’s a good argument to be made that Lippe would have been a right choice for this position when it came open five years ago. At least he’s the man now – albeit a little late.
He brings a wealth of knowledge, youthful energy and passion to the Lady Pioneers. And, maybe more importantly, he’s beloved by his players.
It was hard to find anybody who disagreed with Lippe’s hiring Wednesday. In talking to some of his former players, you’d think he was the next coming of Coach K.
He was praised for his patience, for his teaching ability and for seeing the best in his players. And to a person, the same word came up over and over – “excited.”
That’s something that seemed to be lacking for the Lady Pioneers last season.
Before the year, a group of six seniors – led by Division I signee Tyra Wright - seemed agitated by their preseason prediction to finish in the bottom of the district. That agitation never seemed to carry over to the court though. The team was never above .500 and finished the year losing eight straight.
It seemed like a slow slog to the end, especially for the players. It was depressing to see a group, some who have been together for nearly a decade, go out so meekly.
It won’t be easy to change the vibe, but injecting energy and excitement is a good start. Adding talent – or preventing it from escaping the county – would also help. Lippe may be able to do both, in quick fashion.
Right now is a great honeymoon period for Lippe and the program. Everybody is going to be happy in the offseason.
It will take wins to keep the positivity around for good. They won’t come quickly, or easily, but at least with Lippe around, there’s hope for success.