Hauser is welcoming a new boys basketball coach.

Joe Sibbitt was approved last week by the Flat Rock-Hawcreek School Board to serve as a junior high teacher and coach.

"I am just excited to be here. I am excited for the challenge. I know basketball is very important to this community and that is a great thing. I want it to be important because that means people have a vested interest in what you are doing. I can promise you that we are going to represent our school and our community in a positive light, and be a group that people can be proud to be associated with."

He graduated from Paoli High School where he was a three-sport athlete, playing basketball, baseball and tennis. He went on earn a scholarship to play college basketball at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tenn. During his time there he earned records in three point categories and received honors in the Ohio Valley Conference including freshman of the year.

He has a masters degree in sports administration from Austin Peay and served as a graduate assistant coach.

Sibbitt has been teaching for 19 years and for much of that time he has also been a basketball coach including stints at Paoli for 11 years and most recently Austin for seven. Of his 18 years as a coach, he spent 9 as a head coach including five years as head coach at Austin.

But he stepped away from coaching in Austin for two years. He said he had been involved in basketball as either a player or coach since he was 8 years old and wanted to see if he missed it. He said that he was able to recharge his batteries during the break.

"I kind of missed it for those two years being out of it and (this was an) opportunity to lead a program in a school that I have heard a lot of good things about in terms of the people who work here, the kids that we serve."

"I have always kind of worked and coached in schools about this size -- roughly 400 to 600 students. I think I am going to be kind of familiar with the type of student athletes I am going to be dealing with. It was just, for me, a kind of a fresh start, a new beginning -- the opportunity to lead student athletes and be a positive role model in their lives."

His first day as a staff member in Flat Rock-Hawcreek schools was actually the first day of the school year, the same day the school board approved his contract as a coach and social studies teacher.

"The opportunity kind of presented itself here, kind of late in the summer," Sibbitt said. "People move on for various reasons. This all happened fairly quickly but I am excited to hit the ground running here."

Looking at last year's record, Sibbitt said it is clear that the team has been doing some things well.

"I need to kind of figure out what those things were and then go from doing those things well to even better," he said. "And then, when you lose 14 games, then obviously there are some things that we need to improve on, or get better at to ensure that we have a better season this year.

"So, there is a lot new for me. I have to learn a lot of people's names very quickly and kind of figure out what I do have coming back and starting to form some relationships. There is a laundry list of things to do for your first year from putting together my coaching staff, at all levels, and setting the expectations that I have for our program.

"Probably some things will be similar to what they have done in the past. But there is probably going to be a lot of new as well."

Sibbitt said it is too soon to know which players will be coming back but he expects a solid nucleus. Several of the kids have already sought him out to touch base and get to know the new coach.

"Nothing is set in stone, in terms of the kids we will have coming back," he said. "We will have healthy competition and everybody will have to earn their way. There will be opportunities to play a bigger role possibly. And give a chance for younger kids who were maybe at the JV level to step up and maybe make the varsity team. That will just all be part of it."

Sibbitt said that he hopes to bring some stability and longevity to the coaching role at Hauser. The team has had four head coaches over the past four years.

"This isn't a place that I am looking to leave any time soon. Hopefully I can be here many years and we can have some success. I am going to like them and they are going to like me."