GREENVILLE – Rachael Kerns, Greenville Lady Wave varsity basketball coach has been named the Southwest District D-II Coach of the Year for the 2017-18 season.
“I think the recognition of this award, although it says coach of the year, is a true reflection in all of our program,” said Coach Kerns. “The players have helped make this recognition possible along with the help of all our coaches in the program.”
“Coach Kerns has done an outstanding job rebuilding the Lady Wave Basketball Team,” said Greenville City Schools Superintendent Doug Fries. “Rachael has shown much patience and endurance throughout the process as a coach. These are both needed qualities to be an excellent coach and educator. We salute both Coach Kerns and her student athletes for this outstanding and deserving award and for a great season this past year.”
“It is certainly a great honor for Coach Kerns and very well deserved,” noted Greenville Athletic Director Dusty Yingst. “She is a top notch coach that is very well respected among her players and fellow coaches. Coach Kerns is very passionate about the game of basketball and does a fantastic job of developing her program.”
“The amount of time and energy Coach Kerns puts into her program is paying off over the past few years,” continued Yingst. “The program has made tremendous strides over the past few years and the improvements really showed this season. Coach Kerns has surrounded herself with a great staff at the middle school and high school level, they are a great group of coaches that have the same passion for the sport and kids.”
“This award caps off a good season, and the team and Coach Kerns are very deserving of this honor.” Yingst added. “We are very fortunate to have Coach Kerns leading Lady Wave Basketball and I couldn’t be happier to have her lead the charge.”
The Lady Wave team was 0-23 the year prior to Kerns arrival and just completed the 2017-18 season with a 14-10 winning record including an OHSAA tournament win.
“Having the opportunity to come back and coach at the school I got to play for is an incredible opportunity,” Kerns stated. “I have so much pride in The Green and White and it is easy to be so dedicated to a program that I invested so much of myself to when I was in high school. I was fortunate enough to play for a coach Dave Peltz who also graduated from Greenville and committed himself to our program.”
“Rachel was a four year GWOC (Greater Western Ohio Conference) conference champion, all four years,” said former Lady Wave Coach Peltz. “Rachael was a coach on the court playing for the Lady Wave. Really proud of her persistence and resiliency to work to rebuild the Lady Wave basketball program.”
Kerns and her GHS teammates never lost a GWOC North game in four years, going undefeated while winning the conference four consecutive years.
Kerns was twice named GWOC North player of the year playing for the Lady Wave.
Kerns narrowed her choice to continue playing basketball at the next level to three colleges; Mount Vernon Nazarene University (MVNU), Walsh University and Shawnee Stare University.
“I chose to go to MVNU and had the opportunity to play for Coach Steve Gregory and have a successful career,” said Kerns.
While playing at MVNU the team was NCCAA National Champions and Kerns was awarded the NCCAA National Player of the Year award.
Coach Kerns took time to talk Lady Wave basketball since returning to her alma mater to lead the Lady Wave basketball program.
“Four years ago when we took over the Lady Wave Basketball Program we knew we had our work cut out for us,” said Kerns. “The program as a whole was down and along with that was the low expectation of what it took to be successful. Fortunately I was able to surround myself with coaches I can trust and staff the Jr. High program with coaches who are also willing to invest so much of themselves to the program.”
“Ryan Fiely come on board as my assistant coach and we bring to different styles of coaching to the program and that has proven to be beneficial,” continued Kerns. “Laura Swigart is my JV coach and she does a phenomenal job getting the JV girls ready for what it takes to play for me at the varsity level.”
“Steve Liette is our freshman coach and he brings yet another coaching style and together we have made tremendous strides. Dave Westfall and Jeff Martin have been my junior high coaches and both do a great job of constantly communicating with me so I know what is going on with the younger teams. They both do a great job of getting the girls ready for us at the high school level. I also give them credit for emphasizing the importance of “competing” day in and day out. Coach Martin has also taken a great interest in our youth program and has made a huge impact on what is happening at the lower levels. Without a doubt there is no way we would be as successful without the help of all my coaches.”
“We have also been fortunate enough to coach great girls,” Kerns added. “Even in the early seasons when we were not successful, I can never take away how hard the girls were willing to work. Constantly working on the fundamentals and trying to instill confidence in the girls were our priorities. Luckily, we now have girls who have invested in what we are doing and they get to reap the benefits of success. Luckily for us, the foundation has been laid for what is expected for what it takes to be a part of the Lady Wave Basketball Program.”
Kerns met her husband Matt at MVNU and the couple have two children, a son, Harper who is in Kindergarten and daughter, Peyton who is four years old.
PHOTO CAPTION: Greenville Lady Wave head varsity basketball coach Rachael Kerns givers her players a high-five in closing seconds of 2018 OHSAA D-II tournament win over Stivers. (Gaylen Blosser photo)