NEW MADISON, Ohio (WDTN) — In New Madison there’s a super basketball program run by the “super” — Superintendent Josh Sagester that is.
Sagester coached Ohio’s first 30-0 team to a state title in 2015. After a three year respite he’s returned to the court with a senior-less 22-0 squad. The Patriots are currently ranked as the top Division IV team in the state.
So what’s tougher, coaching perfection or guiding a district during COVID?
“I think it depends on the day in which you ask me. There’s definitely been some busy days here in the district,” said Sagester. “But again, very fortunate to have really good teaching staff, really good administrators, really good students and certainly really good families which makes it easy to be an administrator here in the school district. Friday nights, we’d say it’s a little tougher to be a basketball coach.”
An all-stater at Brookville, Sagester played Division I basketball at Mercer. His daughter Rylee is a sophomore on a 19-2 Patriots team and she already has four Division I offers, including Wright State.
Like the fields of Darke County, the Tri-Village talent pool is rich. Sagester said the kids at Tri-Village work extremely hard for coaches and know they have a tremendous amount of community support for student-athletes.
“Real good basketball tradition here and we have a lot of younger brothers here that had brothers play on the state team. 30-0 is really hard to do. I mean we’re on a path to that,” said Layne Sarver, a forward for Tri-Village.
Having a repeat perfect season for the Patriots would be something, but one gets the feeling the coach cares more about fulfillment than finish.
“You can tell he really loves the game. I mean for him to come back after a couple years off, you can really tell that he still has all that fire and passion and he wants us to succeed,” said Josh Scantland, a forward for Tri-Village.
Sagester said winning games is extremely important, but it’s also about teaching young players life lessons and things they can take with them down the road.
“You know sometimes they look at me a little bit unsure with some of the things that I’m saying to them and I think the older that they get the more that those things sink in,” said Sagester. “Probably the most rewarding is when my players return. They’re sending me text messages. They’re stopping in the office. Those are definitely rewarding moments for me as a coach, knowing that I made a difference and impacted their lives more than just on the basketball court.”