Cherry finds right fit at Lapel

·3 min read

Jun. 15—LAPEL — Late last week the Frankton-Lapel Community Schools board approved former Madison-Grant head coach Kevin Cherry as the new leader of the Lapel boys basketball program.

Cherry coached the Argylls in the 2020-21 season, finishing with a 19-4 record and capturing the Central Indiana Conference championship with a perfect 7-0 mark. He left after one season to be closer to his home and his family in Hamilton County and assisted his brother Keegan at Hamilton Heights.

In Lapel, he has found a coaching opportunity that satisfies the desire to be closer to home.

"My full intention was to still be at Madison-Grant, but there were some personal things I had to take care of with my family," Cherry said. "Being a dad is always my first priority, so I had to step away. It really made me appreciate how special it is to be a head high school basketball coach in the state of Indiana. You just never know when those opportunities come along, and obviously when an opportunity like Lapel opened up and I was in a position where being a head coach again was a possibility, it really fit my family dynamic."

Cherry takes over after a tumultuous two years at Lapel. Following the departure of Hall of Famer Jimmie Howell and an interim stint from Justin Coomer in 2020-21, Tod Windlan coached the Bulldogs to a 13-12 season. But Windlan's contract was not renewed, creating the opening for Cherry.

"I think stability is an important message that we tried to stress right off the bat," Cherry said.

Cherry is a 1995 graduate of Pendleton Heights, where he played for the legendary Joe Buck for two years. After graduating from Purdue, he has been a boys basketball assistant for Lafayette Central Catholic, Lafayette Jefferson, and his alma mater. He also assisted his brother with the Huskies prior to taking the Argylls' job.

He adds he will be forever grateful for the opportunity and the treatment he received while leading the Argylls.

"When I stepped away, I plowed through June (2021) with Madison-Grant and the closer we got to school starting, I didn't want to be a halfway-in dad and a halfway-in basketball coach," he said. "Madison-Grant deserved more than that, and my daughter deserved more than that. The people at Madison-Grant were so great to me, the school administration and the student-athletes that bought in to what we were doing. I never got to thank them publicly for what they did for me and what they meant to me. I'll never be able to repay them for the opportunity they gave me."

Although seven players — five who played significant minutes — graduated from last year's Lapel team, there is plenty of young talent returning, including sophomores Bode and Brode Judge and junior Nick Witte. Cherry he likes what he has seen during early summer workouts.

"It's been a competitive gym thus far this summer, and that's a good thing," he said. "I've been extremely pleased the way we have bought in to wanting to just guard people defensively."

Contact Rob Hunt at rob.hunt@heraldbulletin.com or 765-640-4886.