By Josh Brown
SIDNEY — When Pat Carlisle began work as Lehman Catholic’s new boys basketball coach earlier this summer, he liked what he saw.
“We’ve already done the nine days of practice and had a scrimmage in June, and on a scale of 1 to 10, it was a 13,” he said.
Carlisle — who has spent most of his coaching career in college, working as an assistant coach in two separate stints at Wittenberg and also coaching Columbus State University to the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II national championship game as a head coach during his tenure with the Cougars — was named the Cavaliers’ new head varsity boys basketball coach in late May, getting right to work with a Lehman team that went 9-15 during the 2017-18 season.
For Carlisle, plenty of things drew him to the Lehman job — and he also checked plenty of boxes for the Cavs in their search for a new coach to replace Tim Gleason, who guided the Cavs to a 9-15 record, including one postseason win over Covington before the season ended in a sectional semifinal loss to Russia.
“Several items. One, it’s a small, private Catholic school,” he said. “I’m very used to private, smaller schools, being at Wittenberg for a large chunk of my career, and I’ve got a Catholic background myself. I’ve been an educator for years, and my family has drifted more to small schools.
“I’m someone that’s been through it at just about every single level, from youth to 22-year-olds. I’m organized and have a basketball background. When you need a basketball coach at a school like Lehman, you want someone that’s an educator, a basketball coach and of the Catholic faith. I just kind of fit there.”
Carlisle’s most recent job was as an assistant coach at Wittenberg, where he worked as an assistant from 2004-06 and then again from 2015 to now.
“Wittenberg is extremely successful for its level. Great place to be a part of, great people — I was under two different head coaches there that came from under the same tree, and it’s a fun place. Nothing but awesome there,” Carlisle said.
His most prolific head coaching job was at Columbus State from 2006 to 2013, where his Cougars enjoyed national prominence in NJCAA D-II. To cap off the 2008-09 season, the team played in the national title game, where it lost to Mott Community College.
“For years, I was the head coach at Columbus State Community College, and I was fortunate enough there to kind of live everybody’s dream — in 2008 we played in the junior college national final,” Carlisle said. “Several times throughout the years there, we were the No. 1-ranked team. It was normal to have kids transferring to Division I schools, normal to have kids going to Europe to play, we had two kids drafted into the NBA Developmental League.”
Carlisle has also served on college staffs at Miami University at Middletown and Sinclair Community College, as well as at Jefferson High School, according to his profile on Witternberg’s website. He was also the head coach at Butler High School for two seasons, with the Aviators going 7-15 in 2013-14 and 2-21 in 2014-15 before he rejoined Wittenberg.
“(I’m looking forward to) running practice and being part of a community, a school setting,” Carlisle said of what he is looking forward to about coaching high school again. “It’s fun to pull up on a fall day and see all the fall sports taking place, and work with the kids not involved in fall sports. Then the daily grind of winter, running practice, representing your school and the overall team bond between the staff and players. And then in the spring, you’re back to doing things like in the fall.”
And once he got to work at Lehman, he was immediately impressed.
“It went well,” he said. “When working with a family like at Lehman, you’ve got really positive, successful people with high expectations — which goes back to question one, why I was interested in the job. June was great. We’ve got a large senior class when it comes to basketball. It’s never easy, but we’ve got a chance to have a successful season.
“The main thing with success, it’s not always about win-loss records. It is what you learn in the gym together, relationships you make, grades you earn. At this stage of my career, my goals are always around working hard from when the alarm clock goes off. Your daily attendance rate to school should be extremely high, your grades should be extremely high, your conduct around your peers — whether in the school hallways or in the gym — should always be respectful and positive, and then if you do all those items throughout the day and come in and sweat during practice, normally the best possible outcomes are going to happen.”
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.