OV athletic director to coach girls’ basketball

BRANDON — New Otter Valley Union Activities Director Steven Keith will be doing double duty this winter: He was chosen in late October as the school’s new girls’ basketball coach.
Keith, a 2003 OVUHS graduate, has basketball coaching experience: He has run camps at OV and in Massachusetts; coached AAU basketball, including U-15 girls’ teams; and assisted at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.
OV Co-Principal Jim Avery said he hopes Keith will be a long-term answer for a program that has seen some turnover at the coaching position.
“Steve has a positive attitude, contagious energy, passion for the game, and direct knowledge of a high-level collegiate basketball program,” Avery said. “We feel he has the leadership traits and ability to take our program to the next level.”
Both Avery and Keith said they believed it would be a challenge for the school’s AD to coach a team as well, but that it was workable.
“He has a passion for coaching, so it was only a matter of time until he was coaching students,” Avery said, adding, “We feel he is in the perfect position (as AD) to maintain the program momentum and drive it forward.”
Keith, a four-year member of the OV boys’ varsity basketball team during his years there, said he is working hard to take care of as many details as possible in advance of the season.
“Being organized will be very helpful,” he said.
Keith, who also played soccer and golf at OV, said he will also, if necessary, rely on a support network to handle the workload.
“I think there is a pretty good support group that will help me to do both positions well,” he said. 
Keith replaces Ray Counter, a long-time area youth and AAU coach who stepped down after five years. Counter’s teams, including a young group of freshman and sophomore starters this past two winters, went 37-69 overall during his tenure and won one playoff game, in 2009.
That group will bring quickness to the table this winter, Keith said.
“I do know we have a lot of speed. They look to get up and down the floor,” he said.
Keith said he prefers that style of play, but he will add a couple points of emphasis: cutting down on turnovers and rebounding.
“We’re going to box out,” he said.
If in the future the program has more post players or athletes with different abilities, Keith said he will adapt.
“We want to make sure their strengths are being utilized,” he said.
There will be constants Keith will seek.
“If we’re open, we want to have the confidence to shoot the ball,” Keith said.
Another goal will be effort.
“I really want to go hard on every possession … and bring the intensity that’s required to be successful in the long term,” he said.
And he will insist the players represent OV well.
“We want to hold athletes to high standards of sportsmanship,” Keith said.
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected].

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