BIDWELL, Ohio — Back in black … and silver.
After a four-year hiatus from the head coaching ranks, Brett Bostic is once again returning to the sidelines for a Gallia County-based program after being unanimously approved on Wednesday night as the next varsity boys basketball coach at River Valley High School.
Bostic — who has served as a varsity boys assistant at Gallia Academy over the past four seasons and has well over 20 years of coaching experience — inherits a program that has gone through three different head coaches over the past five years, as well as not winning a sectional title since the 1999 campaign.
Bostic previously has head coaching experience at South Gallia, where he led the Lady Rebels to three sectional titles and a district finals appearance in 2013 during his nine-year tenure with the Red and Gold.
Bostic accumulated 124 wins as the SGHS girls coach from 2006 until 2014, which serves as tops in that program’s history. Bostic was also named the Division IV Southeast District coach of the year by the Associated Press in his next-to-last season at South Gallia.
It’s a different game in terms of speed, leading boys instead of girls, but Bostic admits that the opportunity ultimately ended up being too much to walk away from.
“When the opportunity presented itself, I did some looking into it with people I knew around the area — including people within the River Valley district already. After weighing everything, I just thought it was a good fit because of the people that were already there who could help be part of what we’d be trying to do,” Bostic said. “Having Lynn Sheets already in the building as a varsity assistant was a huge draw, plus it’s a good fit with my regular job in the city. I think we as a staff and the administration at River Valley both have the same ideas of where we want the program to be, so I just felt like this was the time to make the move.
“I’m excited to be back as a head coach in the Gallia County School District and I’m thankful for the opportunity to be a varsity boys basketball coach for the first time. Now, it’s about getting to work and trying to make River Valley the best program it can be.”
Bostic’s approach, at least at South Gallia, was to build the program up through group work, relying on at least eight players for contributions on any given night.
Some will contribute more than others, but it was the depth that allowed his Lady Rebel squads to gradually grow into a consistently tough-out for any opponent.
The group mentality is something that Bostic wants to continue during his tenure with the Silver and Black, but it will take a lot of effort early on to make that transition a successful one.
“Everybody that plays a game wants to succeed, but it’s really going to come down to the attitude of the kids. Our focus will be on playing as a team and making sure that everyone understands that all of the little things are important to what we do on a nightly basis,” Bostic said. “I’ve always focused on fundamentals and defense, so it will be important that we do things the right way. We will be aggressive in our style of play, and it might be a little faster than what the kids are currently used to, but we our going to get after it on the floor. We’ll need some depth to help accomplish that.”
RVHS athletic director Richard Stephens feels that bringing in Bostic is not only a good hire for the school in the here-and-now, but also in moving forward — something hopefully more permanent than another two-year cycle.
“Coach Bostic has coached basketball in Gallia County for years, and he has coached with some excellent coaches — as well as being a very successful head coach at South Gallia,” Stephens said. “We are very excited about the opportunities that he brings to the basketball program, and Coach Bostic is eager to get the program turned around and back on track.
“The coaching staff will demand respect, hard work, high level of intensity and a high level of play. They are already having open gyms and the summer schedule is set. We are excited to have Coach Bostic and his staff take the reins of the River Valley boys basketball program.”
In being introduced to his future players, Bostic noted that there seemed to be some buzz about him coming on board.
As he said, that’s a good thing … primarily because he needs every one of his potential players to be enthusiastic about an entirely different approach.
“There seems to be some momentum, or at least some energy right now. We had around 30 kids or so show up at the introductory meeting, so that’s a positive start right off,” Bostic said. “The biggest thing for me over the next few months is trying to earn these kids’ trust. I think we have a little bit of a foundation already built, but I need to make some additions so that we can start building this thing. This summer and this first year will be really important to what we want to accomplishment in this program.”
Another key element to this hiring is the relationship between Bostic and River Valley’s new football coach Jason Peck. Both worked at South Gallia in head-coaching capacities at South Gallia, and both understand that you need all of the athletes you can get to be successful every season at a smaller school.
Stephens feels that the prior relationship with Peck, as well as having longtime basketball coach Lynn Sheets already in house and on board, will really aid Bostic in his first season at the helm.
“Having football and basketball coaches work together is key for a small school to be successful. With Coach Peck and Coach Bostic having worked together previously at South Gallia, that transition will be very smooth. They are excited to help each other’s programs in that regard,” Stephens said. “Coach Sheets will be joining the staff as a varsity assistant and also has an excellent basketball pedigree. Coach Sheets teaches in the building and already has a good rapport with many of the players. That should really help with this transition too.”
Bostic — who could have just as easily stayed at Gallia Academy as an assistant for what could be a pretty special varsity boys season — noted that just about everyone has asked him a three-letter question about accepting this position.
The answer is pretty much as easy as the question — and the end result could potentially lead to something special in the northern part of Gallia County.
“A lot of people have asked me why, why get back into coaching now … and my answer is really pretty simple. I missed it, and I feel like I can make a difference where I’m headed. There are also a lot of little things, like Coach Peck, Coach Sheets, Mr. Stephens and working with the county schools again, that just sort of lined up to make the decision easier,” Bostic said. “I believe that the community is excited and that the kids are excited. I know I am excited and that Lynn is excited, so we’re eager to get to work on putting a team and a program on the court that the community can be excited about.”
The Raiders haven’t had double-digit wins in a season in three years and haven’t posted consecutive 10-win seasons since the 2005-06 and 2006-07 campaigns.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.