GEORGETOWN — The Georgetown boys varsity basketball team has a new coach, albeit only on an interim basis.
After running out of options during an exhaustive search for former head coach and local legend Jerry Underwood, Georgetown Superintendent Chris Burrows settled on his final, and most logical choice.
The former G-Men basketball player and current G-Men baseball coach officially accepted the interim head coaching position, which will put him in charge for this season while the school district looks ahead to bringing in a long-term replacement. Oliver’s new assignment still has to be approved by the Georgetown Board of Education, but he doesn’t expect there to be any hurdles.
Oliver spent last season as an assistant coach for the G-Men varsity basketball game and spent this past summer working the junior varsity basketball team summer camps.
After Jay Chadwell’s hiring fell through, Burrows approached Oliver to see if he would take over for the upcoming season.
“He’s agreed to do the interim position for one year,” Burrows said. “We’ll have some retirements coming this year and maybe some other positions that may attract a long-term head coach.”
Oliver said that while he will remain as the head baseball coach, he was taking this position to help give some consistency to the G-Men basketball players.
“I’m really doing it to help the kids this year, just to make sure they have somebody they’re familiar with and knows the system they’ve been running for many years,” Oliver said. “I did it for that reason, I didn’t do it for the limelight.”
The G-Men are coming off one of their most successful seasons since winning the state title in 2007, going 22-4 and finishing as district runner-up.
But due to graduation and Underwood stepping down as head coach, the G-Men will basically start from scratch, with five new starters plugged into the lineup, many who have only played just a few minutes of varsity basketball, if at all.
“It’s JV basketball going to varsity, it’s another step,” Oliver said. “We have big shoes to fill coaching-wise and player wise. Losing the all-time leading scorer and assist leader (hurts). It’s not going to easy but we’ll do the best we can.”
Oliver said that he expects his team to show its youth and inexperience at the beginning, but he hopes they’ll grow together and adjust to the varsity level as the season wears on.
“They’re young, you can tell that they’re inexperienced and it’s a learning curve,” Oliver said. “When I was in school it was the same way. But I think they’ll be okay once they get their feet wet and it’s just going to take time. Getting used to what I’m trying to do. It’s not going to be much different, but I’m not Jerry Underwood.”
Oliver is currently in the process of hiring assistant coaches, with the whole coaching staff from last year leaving their positions after last season.
One issue Oliver has to face right from the start is that his wife is expecting their second child in early November. Oliver hopes that they’ll have a few experienced coaches alongside him to help manage the team while he’s caring for his new baby.
“It’s going to be really busy,” Oliver said. “I wouldn’t have done it (taken the job) if she wouldn’t have given the OK.”