By Wade Linville –
The place where the Eastern High School Warriors and Lady Warriors host their home hoop battles is now known as ‘Kiser Court’, taking the name of legendary high school girls basketball coach Richard Kiser.
A court dedication was held during this year’s annual Joe Myers Sports Festival on Saturday, Nov. 4 in the Eastern High School gymnasium with many of Kiser’s former players, local coaches, Eastern school staff and board of education members, as well as friends and family there to help pay tribute to the retired coach who stands, not only as the most successful varsity girls’ basketball coach in Eastern High School sports history, but as one of the winningest coaches in the state of Ohio.
Kiser began his coaching career at Eastern in 1977 and retired in 2010, recording 601 wins while only suffering 167 losses to rank among the top 10 winningest coaches in Ohio.
“This is a great honor,” Kiser said to the crowd during the Nov. 4 court dedication.
Kiser was inducted into the Ohio High School Basketball Association Hall of Fame in 2012 and was recently inducted into the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame.
“No one deserves it more than Richard Kiser,” current Eastern girls’ basketball coach Kevin Pickerill said of the Kiser Court dedication.
Signs will soon be erected in the gymnasium that read “Kiser Court”, and there are also plans for “Kiser Court” to appear on the hardwood floor in the gym.
Emotions ran high in the Eastern gymnasium on the evening of Nov. 4 as the community gathered in the memory of the late Joe Myers, who was a dear friend to Kiser and well-known as the Eastern Lady Warriors’ No. 1 fan while also holding the dedication of Kiser Court.
Kiser credited his many talented basketball players he coached throughout the years for his success as head of the varsity girls basketball program at Eastern, as well as the many people who supported him during his career.
“I had a tremendous group of young ladies who played for me,” said Kiser. “It’s unbelievable how well they performed together at times.”
“I really enjoyed coaching them.”
Kiser went on to recognize the dedicated parents of the players he coached throughout the years and other members of the Eastern community for their support of the Eastern High School girls’ basketball program during his time as a coach.
“Every time I needed something, someone was ready to volunteer and ‘jump up’ and help me,” said Kiser.
Kiser went on to credit the coaches who stood by him on the sidelines during his coaching career, as well as the fellow coaches around the area who shared their basketball knowledge with him to help the program find and maintain its success during his decades of coaching.
“My freshmen, reserve, and (assistant) varsity coaches…some of them would have probably won as many games or more if they would have been in the same situation I was in, and I really appreciate them,” said Kiser.
Kiser also recognized his family for their support of him in his coaching and teaching career.
“They really supported me and have really been good to me. I missed a lot of (family) activities and was late for a lot of meals, (but) there was always something there for me,” Kiser said of his family.
Last but not least, Kiser acknowledged the man of the evening, Joe Myers, for his never-ending support of Eastern basketball.
“We’ve been here and had a long night raising money for Joe Myers, but there’s nobody who deserved that any more than he did,” Kiser said of his late friend. “He was our No. 1 fan, and without his support I’m sure I wouldn’t have won those 601 games.”