New coaches embrace roles at Pickerington Central, North | #schoolshooting

A decade of experience convinced Rodger Oakes he was ready to be a varsity basketball coach, but the timing wasn’t right.

Oakes, a 1998 graduate of Pickerington, worked his way through the ranks as a volunteer boys coach at the middle school level and seventh-grade coach at Lakeview Junior High before serving as a freshman and junior varsity coach at Central in the late 2000s under Jerry Groves.

“At that time, I was pretty gung ho,” said Oakes, who applied to succeed Groves but was passed over for Jerry Francis, who led the Tigers to the Division I state championship in 2012. “My wife said if you become a varsity coach, that’s fine, but we had two kids under 2 at the time. It was time for me to move up or move on. I started officiating instead. At least I didn’t have to go scout. It was just show up two hours before the game, referee and go from there.”

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