SHEPHERDSVILLE - Bullitt Central wasn’t without a girls’ basketball coach for very long.
Just a month after former head coach Bryan Bates announced he was stepping down, Kyle Roach was introduced to his players on Monday by Cougar athletic director Mark Rogers and principal Christy Coulter. Roach was interviewed last Wednesday and was told he had the job on Friday.
“I was excited and also a little shocked,” the new coach said of his Friday phone call from Rogers. “I was thinking (my first head job) I’d be at the bottom and have to build it. But this is a program ready to compete now. We just have to put in the time and the effort.”
Roach will move over to the girls’ program after having served as an assistant coach to boy’s head coach Joe Pat Lee in all but one season since 2005. Earlier this summer, Roach had been a finalist for the open boys’ job at Moore High School and he had applied for other boys’ jobs in the past, but this opening on the girls’ side was one that he could not pass up.
A 2001 graduate of North Bullitt, where he played under then head coach Larry Wooldridge, Roach had a little angel sitting on his shoulder telling him to go for this job. His wife, Kelly (Close), is a former Lady Cougar player who has maintained close ties to the program along with her parents.
“She and I talked about it,” Roach said. “I knew quickly.
“I have applied for jobs at boys’ programs,” the coach added. “I was about to interview for the Moore job when coach Bates stepped down. I was excited from the start. It’s a job here in the building. I like the area. I know the teaching job here. It’s great to be a part of this program.”
In fact, the four finalists for this opening were all already working at Bullitt Central. The three assistants working with Bates last season, Josh Cravens, Jennifer Ritter and Josh Whitehouse, all applied for the job and were interviewed.
While Roach has never coached girls at the high school level, he has coached girls in the past. In fact, his very first coaching job, while he was still a student at Lindsay Wilson College, was at a small school in Adair County with the middle school program. He did that for two years.
“Basketball is basketball,” Roach said of the switch to girls. “I have to put together a game plan to take advantage of the talents that our team has. The fundamentals are the same.”
After getting out of college in 2005, Roach came back to the area and applied for a job at Waggener High School. In that summer, Lee had just left Male High School (where he was the freshman coach) during a head coaching change and was preparing to work as an assistant coach at North Bullitt under Lee Barger.
Suddenly, the Bullitt Central job opened that summer when Brent Dennison surprisingly resigned. Lee got that phone call and he had met Roach at North Bullitt and offered to bring him on board with the Cougars.
Roach served as the freshman coach in his first years, but then in 2009, he took an opening as the freshman coach at Male, the same job that Lee had several years earlier. During that season, Roach was Derek Willis’ coach at Male before he transferred to Bullitt East.After just one season at Male, Roach returned to Bullitt Central. He actually traded places with fellow assistant coach Shane Popplewell, as Roach took the junior-varsity while Popplewell coached the freshmen.
Roach grew up in northern Bullitt County and his parents, Glen and Retha, still live there. His wife grew up in Lebanon Junction and the couple is now living in that community near her parents, Joan and Eddie Close. The couple do not have any children.
For the past several seasons, Kelly Roach as been teaching and coaching basketball at Zoneton Middle School. Until he moved to Bullitt Central in January, she was the assistant coach to Whitehouse with the Timberwolve girls.
As of Monday, Roach had not had time to put his coaching staff together, but he felt that he would soon have that worked out.
In terms of style of play, Roach doesn’t expect fans to notice any drastic changes.
“We have to play with the cards we are dealt,” he pointed out. “I want to play good defense. We want to value every possession. I want to be up-tempo on defense as we want easy baskets and that always helps.
“As far as saying I have one set system, no I don’t have that,” Roach added. “We have some seniors who are good and have experience. I won’t drastically change a lot for them. We do need to develop the sophomore and freshmen.”