Sandusky High School moved extremely quick to replace boys basketball coach Anthony Stacey.
Just five days after Stacey resigned to accept a position on the University of Toledo's men's basketball staff, Sandusky announced Saturday evening it had hired Colin Irish as the new hoops coach.
Stacey had been hired on April 26, but less than two months later, was offered the opportunity to become an assistant at the Division I college level. Forced to act quickly, SHS officials moved fast in hiring Irish, who had been the head girls basketball coach at Vermilion for the past two seasons.
“You don't often get the chance to hire two people of this quality, especially considering the timing of both,” Sandusky athletic director Shawn Coakley said. “Colin is a great human being with an outstanding basketball pedigree. We're very happy to have him at Sandusky.”
In his two seasons at Vermilion, the Sailors finished 26-24 with two district appearances. Prior to his arrival, Vermilion had won just nine games in the previous two years.
“I would like to thank the search committee for conducting an expedited search and recommending Coach Irish,” Coakley said. “We are fortunate to find someone of his experience and expertise.”
After a standout prep career at Cathedral Latin High School in Cleveland — which included a state championship in 1977 — Irish went on to star at Bowling Green State University.
While a Falcon, Irish was a part of two Mid-American Conference championships, two NIT appearances and a 92-52 record from 1979-84. Along with Stacey and 10 others, he was named to the All-Anderson Arena team at BGSU.
Irish was a fifth round pick of the Washington Bullets in the 1984 NBA draft before playing 14 seasons in England and France. He was named MVP of various league, playoff and cup competitions multiple times, and was a perennial All-Star.
Irish returned stateside in 2002, where he started his '2 the Hoop' basketball camps, which promote education, health, fitness and positive citizens in elementary and high schools. In 2007, he accepted a position as head coach at Lorain Community College, where he re-established the women's basketball program.
Irish was also an assistant boys basketball coach at Lorain Admiral King, and spent several seasons on the Lorain High School coaching staff prior to arriving at Vermilion as girls coach for the 2012-13 season.
Since 2012, Irish served in a faculty support staff role as a Mentor-Administrator for the Workforce Development program at Vermilion, where he works with students and families with credit recovery for high school graduation. He also assists to manage the online alternative school program at VHS.
From 2009-12, Irish also worked for Lorain City Schools, where he was responsible for the administration and supervision of a learning technology-based program for high school students.
SHS officials and area basketball fans hope the hiring of Irish stops a whirlwind of movement with head basketball coach position. Irish becomes the seventh different head coach in a four-season span, with three coaches in that span never coaching a single game.
SHS principal Dr. Ted Caleris said he saw a strong commitment from Irish right away.
“I was impressed with the way he was so passionate and excited about being a part of the Blue Streak family,” Caleris said. “After his interview, he stayed in town an additional five hours, just talking to faculty and staff and admiring our quality facilities. That's the kind of leader we need for our boys and every student at the high school.”
Irish met his wife, Paula, in England and the couple have two daughters, Chloe and Darcy.
Irish has set a meeting for 3 p.m. Sunday at the SHS Brass Lantern for all high school players and parents, so he can meet the team and share his philosophy — as well as a path moving forward.
Sandusky hasn't had a winning season since the 2006-07 season, when it finished 16-7. The Blue Streaks were 5-19 last season, and are expected to return all but two players from last season's roster, including juniors Davion Fisher and George Brown, and sophomore Jayrese Williams.