JA hires boys head cage coach


The Jonathan Alder High School boys basketball program is now under new direction.

The district’s board of education hired Zac Ross as the Pioneers’ new hoop boss during a meeting on Wednesday.

Ross replaces Brent Cahill, who resigned earlier this spring after seven seasons at the helm.

Ross was one of multiple applicants for the position, according to outgoing JA High School principal Mike Aurin.

“We had a great pool of candidates,” said Aurin, who will leave the district this summer to become the principal at Dublin Jerome High School. “I think we finished with between 13 and 16 applicants.”

“Approximately half of the candidates had current or previous high school head coaching experience,” he said. “This was a very productive process.”

The interview process that ultimately selected Ross was primarily conducted by athletic director Tom Vargo and Clint Hayes, who will replace Aurin as the high school principal.

Aurin, however, spoke with the Journal-Tribune about Ross’ characteristics that stood out during the process.

“Zach stood out because of his passion and energy for basketball,” he said. “He’s already met with the kids and parents.

“He wants to establish a presence in the community.”

Along with taking over the Pioneer hoop program, Ross will also serve as a math instructor in the district, it was reported.

Ross brings only one year of head coaching experience to the Alder table. However, it was a successful season.

He guided the Johnstown-Monroe boys squad to a 20-6 record during the 2018-19 campaign.

Prior to his stint at the Licking County school, Ross was an assistant coach at Hilliard Bradley High School.

According to Aurin, Ross has already hit the ground running with the Pioneer program.

“Zach is in the process of building his coaching staff,” said Aurin. “We’ve also put together a basketball calendar for the month of June, since summer work is very important.”

Ross will conduct camps for JA boys going into grades 3-9 next week from Monday through Wednesday (June 17-19).

Sessions for those going into grades 3-6 will be held in the high school gymnasium from 8:30 a.m. until noon.

Those in grades 7-9 will take to the court from noon until 3:30 p.m.

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