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Jul. 28—Logansport hired Sherron Wilkerson as its new boys basketball coach at Monday's LCSC board meeting.
Wilkerson, 46, enters with vast experience in basketball both as a player and coach. Many local fans probably remember him from his playing days as he led Jeffersonville to a state championship in 1993 and later played for coach Bob Knight at Indiana University.
Wilkerson said he's "extremely excited" to be the next coach of the Berries.
"It's a special place. Being a southern Indiana guy, we've always had a tremendous amount of respect for the state of Indiana from a basketball perspective and more specifically the North Central Conference. Obviously Logansport is rich in tradition and it's just a wonderful place with wonderful people. I'm very blessed to have the opportunity to join the Logansport family," he said.
Wilkerson has been a head coach in Indiana high school basketball for four seasons total, the last two of which at Madison, where he went 30-22. The Cubs went 17-9 this past season and lost to eventual Class 3A state champion Silver Creek 83-71 in a sectional final.
"It was extremely tough to leave Madison," Wilkerson said. "I've developed some very good relationships there in Madison. I've been in the Madison community for over 14 years. I worked in a manufacturing facility there and of course developed some very deep personal relationships there and obviously my kids, it was extremely tough when you build personal relationships with kids and from a longevity standpoint when you don't get to see them through, it's always tough. But for me personally this is the best move for my family and I."
Wilkerson said he plans to eventually make a full move to Logansport but for now will also keep a home in Louisville, Kentucky.
"I'm in a unique situation. My wife and I have raised two nieces and we currently have a niece that going into her junior year of high school, she goes to Ballard High School here in Louisville, Kentucky, and she is a Division-I softball player. She has made a really good name for herself, very comfortable with her team and her school, so we're going to make sure she has that stability for the next two years. Then once she graduates high school then my wife will come up to Logansport and join me.
"I will get an apartment for the next couple years and be balancing two households until we have No. 1 responsibilities complete and obviously that is to make sure that my niece is up on her feet and off to college."
Wilkerson takes over for Drew Schauss, who was hired at Avon less than two weeks ago.
The Berries are coming off an 11-12 season in which they won the Cass County Tournament championship. They will return All-Loganland first-team guard Noah Lange (9 ppg, 47 3-pointers) and third-team guard Caleb Crook (6 ppg, 4 rpg, 2.0 apg) for their senior seasons and Grayson Long, who started several games as a sophomore.
Logansport athletic director Brian Strong said he was happy to find a coach of Wilkerson's caliber on such short notice ahead of the first day of school on Aug. 11.
"I think that Sherron brings a lot of experience not only in the sport of basketball but mentoring young people and that's certainly what makes him appealing to us," Strong said. "He was a high-level player and has coached at a variety of different levels and spent the last handful of years coaching high school basketball in southern Indiana, so he brings a lot of experience and knowledge and I think he can really hit the ground running.
"We were dealt with a late hiring and we moved pretty rapidly, but we were very diligent. We had some great applicants which gives you options which is nice. When Sherron interviewed it was pretty clear to the interview committee that he was top-notch and we were really excited when he accepted the position. When you're this late in the process, finding somebody that can hit the ground running is a really important thing and we really feel like he can do that."
Wilkerson will teach preparing for college and careers and health classes at Logansport Junior High School.
Wilkerson has previously coached at Rock Creek and Herron high schools, IU Southeast, Lincoln Trail College and Lamar University.
He played at IU from 1993-96.
"Having the opportunity to play for coach Knight was obviously one of the highlights of my career," he said. "It was something that I will always be truly grateful for. It set the stage for where I am today. It's obviously put me in the position where I was introduced to most of the state, I think most of the state of Indiana is familiar with at least knowing me as a basketball player and coach. It's really been beneficial from that aspect. I learned some very valuable life lessons playing for coach Knight that I still carry with me today. It definitely impacted my life from a longevity standpoint and I'm truly grateful for that.
"I'm still very fortunate and happy to be a part of the IU family. One of my plans is to make sure that we get the guys up to a practice, I want those guys to see what Coach's life has been about, I want those guys to know from a personal standpoint that I'm no better than those guys, I just have different responsibilities. Hopefully we can use some of my past successes and some of my past failures to be able to use to the benefit of our student-athletes and I truly believe that."
Wilkerson played professional basketball overseas from 1998-2004, which included stops in Sweden, Latvia, Turkey, Brazil and Israel.
"It was pretty interesting from the standpoint that when I broke my leg my freshman year in college at IU, they told me I would never walk again. So to not only walk again but to be able to come back and play at that high of a level, it just puts in perspective of how blessed I truly was," he said.
Wilkerson said that for high school basketball he runs similar systems from when he played at Jeffersonville for coach Michael Broughton, who is now the Indiana All-Star games director and was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 2012.
"I've always played a fast-pace type of basketball. We run a sideline fastbreak, very familiar to what my high school coach ran, it's actually identical to what my high school coach ran," Wilkerson said. "And I lean on him a lot for direction and mentorship. From a defensive perspective we're going to cause havoc. I always say you have to build your program around your personnel. From what I've seen on film, we have personnel that is extremely gifted. So hopefully we can get in and we can teach our mentality and philosophy. I think it'll be a fun style of basketball to watch.
"Let me say this, Jimmy Boeheim has proved 2-3 zones work, Rick Pitino has proved that pressing and trapping works, coach Bennett has proved that the timeline works. It all works. So for us it's just a matter of if we can get everybody to align all at once and that will be our main intent."