By KEVIN HARRIS
Charlestown High School is looking to one of its alumni to lead its girls’ basketball program this coming season.
The Greater Clark County Schools Corporation board approved former Pirate boys’ basketball player Michael Prichard as Charlestown’s new girls’ coach on Tuesday. Prichard replaces Scott Matthews, who unexpectedly resigned last week after being hired to guide the Pirates last May.
Charlestown athletic director Chad Gilbert said Prichard’s enthusiasm to return to his alma mater to coach basketball was a key factor in him getting the job.
“Michael is a Charlestown guy,” Gilbert said. “He came off as extremely passionate and extremely organized. Everyone we interviewed had really strong ties to Charlestown, but Michael’s coaching experience and passion stood out among the rest.”
The Pirate girls’ coaching post will be Prichard’s first head coaching job. Prichard has held two assistant coaching jobs at the high school level. From 2005-08, he coached the Charlestown boys’ freshman team under former Pirate boys’ coach David Null and current Charlestown boys’ coach Sean Smith.
From 2009-11, Prichard was the junior varsity girls’ coach at Eastern for current head coach Mike McBride, who also is a Charlestown grad.
Prichard also has some college coaching experience. He was an assistant men’s coach at Spalding University in Louisville during the 2008-09 season.
Prichard is excited to get the opportunity to return to Charlestown.
“It means a lot because I put in lots of hard work when I was there,” Prichard told hoosierhillshoops.com. “To be able to get back to a community and school that I’m so passionate about is really exciting. [Charlestown] is something that never left me. No matter where I’ve been as a teacher and coach, something about Charlestown always stuck with me.”
Prichard inherits a team that welcomes back several key players from last year’s 10-11 squad. Two of those key returnees are junior guard Kaitlynn Henning and junior forward Justice Burdin.
According to hoosierhillshoops.com, he will meet with the team on Thursday.
“A lot of these girls have put in lots of time over the years to get where they’re at, and I hope they continue to grow as players and student-athletes here at Charlestown,” Prichard told the Web site.
Prichard was the team captain on Charlestown’s 1996-97 boys’ team that won the final single-class Jeffersonville Sectional. He made the All-Mid-Southern Conference team that season.
Prichard played college basketball at Ohio Valley University, an NCAA Division II school in Vienna, W.Va.
Gilbert said Matthews’ sudden resignation was because the New Washington graduate needed to spend more time with his two children.
“He felt stretched, so he decided he wanted to be a dad instead of a coach,” Gilbert said.