Forest City names new basketball coach

BILL JONES

BY JOBY FAWCETT

Times-Shamrock Writer

Forest City’s school board has appointed a new boys basketball coach for the 2011-2012 school year.

Bill Jones, who last season served as an assistant coach at Lackawanna Trail, was named to the position by an 8-1 vote earlier this week, replacing Carl Imbt, who served as the coach last season after Mike Heck, an employee at Tobyhanna Army Depot, who had been named the coach in August, had to work in Iraq.

“It’s a great opportunity,” Jones said. “Forest City had a tremendous junior high team. I am going to have ninth graders playing substantial varsity minutes.

“I am going to blend them in with seniors, who have some experience. I want to rebuild a program there. One of the things that I learned from Andrew Kettel was that he was so involved with the whole program from junior high and with clinics.

“And now he is starting to see the rewards of that commitment.”

Forest City finished last season 5-19, 2-12 in the Lackawanna Division III.

Jones, 36, began his coaching career as an assistant to Eric Grundman at Marywood University. Then, he was an assistant coach at Mountain View before assisting at Lackawanna Trail, which won the Lackawanna Division III title.

He will take over a program that once enjoyed success in District 12 under the guidance of Julius Prezelski, who had 757 career wins ranking second all time in the state to North Catholic’s Don Graham’s 801.

But Forest City hasn’t won a district championship since 1993 when it won in District 12 in Prezelski’s final season and has never won a Lackawanna League title, with its last division crown coming in 1994 as a member of the Northeast Athletic Conference.

“I have already started to reach out to some of the players on the 1,000-point scorer banner in the gym,” Jones said. “In my program, the door is always open to them. I want them to be around our guys so they can know what it takes to be successful. I want them to play for the uniform and the kids need to know what those championship banners are all about.”