PARKERSBURG — The search for the next Parkersburg High head girls basketball coach ended at Tuesday night’s Wood Coubty Board of Education meeting.
Three-year PHS assistant coach Scott Cozzens received approval to lead the Big Reds from among a field of five candidates.
Big Red girls assistants Jeff Kisner and Phil Wilson also applied for the position along with PHS boys assistant Bob Carr and local coach Nathan Peters.
Big Reds athletic director Chris Way recommended Cozzens as the first coach put in place during his tenure. “He had good knowledge of the program and already had coaching experience,” said Way. “I felt his philosophy and skill set best to lead the team to accomplish its goals.”
Cozzens’ past coaching experience was highlighted by a stop at Marietta High. Cozzens directed the Tigers’ girls basketball program from 2009-2013.
During his time with the Tigers, MHS had a lot of success on the basketball court. The team went 75-22 in four seasons; winning three league titles (two in the former Southeastern Ohio Athletic League and one in the East Central Ohio Leage), four sectional crowns, and two district championships.
He coached eventual Division I player Erica Dawson, who went to Xavier, during his time with the Tigers.
However, family forced Cozzens to leave his position. “Sometimes you get into a situation in your life with family and stuff,” he said. “I had family out on the West Coast. I was trying to juggle family time around the holidays and with girls basketball, it doesn’t always work out. I felt I couldn’t give the girls program the attention it needed and take care of the family stuff as well.”
Cozzens left the program in 2013.
Yet, the call to the bench has a funny way of drawing people back into the fold. His defensive mind was too great an asset for newly-minted PHS head coach, and for a few years rival Warren coach, Kenny DeMoss to pass up when he took over the Big Reds.
DeMoss asked and Cozzens found himself back in a coaching role in 2014.
“I wanted a defensive mind who was better than myself to come onto our staff and make us better,” said DeMoss, now the PHS principal, who wasn’t involved in the hiring process because of his personal connection with all the candidates. “And that is exactly what happened. If you look at three years ago up to what we did last year, our record was pretty darn good. That had a lot to do with the defensive philosophy that Scott brought. I think his resume speaks for itself.”
Parkersburg High made steady progress under the staff; climaxing with last year’s trip to the state tournament after a 20-year absence.
A large contingent of 2016 players and staff return in 2017, causing the bar to be set high for Cozzens’ first year.
“It is a unique situation,” he said. “We are basically keeping the staff of three years together and other than coach DeMoss not being around as much as we would like him to be, we kind of think we are going to be building on what he already has in place.
“I don’t feel any pressure. With the athletic department and history PHS has, there should always be expectations. We sure want to build on last year, barring injuries (knock on wood). We feel we have a chance to get better as the season rolls along.”