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Kelly Heil, Bob Simon hired as Southview basketball coaches

07/12/2017, 12:01am EDT
By By STEVE JUNGA BLADE SPORTS WRITER

Southview senior Kelly Heil, left, gets a hug from teammate Molly Luetke after scoring her 1,000th career point Tuesday against Perrysburg. Heil is the top returning scorer in the Northern Lakes League. THE BLADE

The last time Kelly Heil was part of the Southview girls var­sity bas­ket­ball team, she was the Cou­gars’ first All-Ohio first-teamer as a se­nior.

Now, af­ter seven to­tal sea­sons coach­ing at the ju­nior high (Timber­stone) and ju­nior var­sity (Southview) lev­els, Heil is set to be­come the Cou­gars’ next girls var­sity head coach in 2017-18.

The hir­ings of Heil and Bob Si­mon, who has been se­lected as Southview’s next boys var­sity coach, still are sub­ject to ap­proval by the Syl­va­nia Schools board of ed­u­ca­tion at their next meet­ing in Au­gust.

Heil suc­ceeds De­siree Eid­son as girls head coach, and Si­mon, a long­time col­lege as­sis­tant coach, fol­lows Bruce Smith as boys head coach.

Heil, 34, has taught phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion and health 11 years for Syl­va­nia Schools. She en­ters her first sea­son with su­perb cre­den­tials from her days as a player. She al­ready has been in­ducted into the Syl­va­nia (2009) and Ohio Wes­leyan Univer­sity (2015) ath­letic halls of fame.

Was it Heil’s ob­jec­tive to some­day re­turn as Southview’s head coach?

“I wouldn’t say it was a goal,” she said. “I just love coach­ing. The Southview pro­gram, when I played here, gave me so much. I just wanted to give back to a school that was im­por­tant in de­vel­op­ing me as a teacher and a coach. I’ve learned a lot of life les­sons here.”

Heil had a ster­ling re­sume as a player at both lev­els.

At Southview, she was a four-time first team All-North­ern Lakes League se­lec­tion, scor­ing a school-record 1,442 ca­reer points. She was named first-team All-Ohio in 2001, when she av­er­aged 23.1 points per game, and was se­lected third-team All-Ohio as a ju­nior in 2000, when she scored 22.8 points per game.

Heil, who set a Southview sin­gle-game record with 42 points, also was named to the All-Blade team as a se­nior.

At Ohio Wes­leyan, Heil was named to the All-North Coast Ath­letic Con­fer­ence first team all four years (2002-05), and re­mains the NCAC’s all-time lead­ing scorer in women’s bas­ket­ball with 2,112 ca­reer points.

In 2003, her soph­o­more sea­son, she was named NCAC player of the year af­ter av­er­ag­ing 21.6 points and 5.5 re­bounds as a 5-11 guard-for­ward. Heil started ev­ery game in her ca­reer for the Bat­tling Bish­ops.

Heil has come full cir­cle. Her coach at Southview was Kevin Mitch­ell, who will serve as the Cou­gars’ var­sity as­sis­tant coach. They will look to re­build Southview into an NLL con­tender.

The Cou­gars strug­gled the past two sea­sons un­der Eid­son, fin­ish­ing 5-40 over­all, and a last-place 1-13 in the NLL each year. The Cou­gars’ last team that con­tended for a league ti­tle was in 2012-13 (17-7 over­all, 12-2 NLL) un­der Tim Not­tke.

“I think there’s a lot of tal­ent here, and we have kids who work hard,” Heil said. “It’s just a mat­ter of get­ting ev­ery­one on the same page as far as ter­mi­nol­ogy, goals and just work­ing as a team.

“I just want us to be suc­cess­ful and have a win­ning record, and get it back to where it was when I played. I’m look­ing for­ward to work­ing with coach Mitch­ell again.”

Si­mon, 54, has an ex­ten­sive re­sume as a col­lege as­sis­tant coach, in­clud­ing six sea­sons un­der Stan Jop­lin at the Univer­sity of Toledo, and most re­cently two sea­sons as as­so­ci­ate head coach at Ala­bama.

His last work at the high school level was his four-year stint as head coach at South­gate (Mich.) Ander­son in the Detroit. A 1981 grad­u­ate of Thurston High School in Red­ford, Mich., Si­mon be­gan his coach­ing run as an as­sis­tant at Thurston the year af­ter he grad­u­ated.

He moved up from Ander­son in 1991, spend­ing nine years as an as­sis­tant at Wayne State Univer­sity in Detroit be­fore com­ing to UT in 2000. He then worked six years at Fair­field (Conn.) Univer­sity, four years at Prov­i­dence Col­lege in the Big East, and two years at Ala­bama.

Si­mon’s daugh­ter, Bob­bie, and son, Devin, at­tended Southview while he was coach­ing at UT. Bob­bie grad­u­ated from there in 2007. Devin played his fresh­man and soph­o­more sea­sons at Southview, moved to Fair­field for his ju­nior year, then re­turned to Syl­va­nia as a se­nior and grad­u­ated from Northview in 2009.

Si­mon and his wife, Donna, have owned a home in Syl­va­nia since the time he coached at UT, so the re­turn to high school coach­ing did not re­quire a com­pli­cated re­lo­ca­tion. Also, hav­ing Jop­lin at Southview as an ad­min­is­tra­tor made the move more at­trac­tive to Si­mon. Jop­lin also worked as a prep head coach (at Spring­field) af­ter con­clud­ing his col­lege coach­ing ca­reer.

“Right now, it’s just a dif­fer­ent ca­reer path,” Si­mon said of tran­si­tion­ing back to the high school level for the first time in 26 years. “My wife and I owned a home in Syl­va­nia and we had been rent­ing it out for some time. Both of our par­ents are still alive and they all live in Red­ford Town­ship in Mich­i­gan. It puts us closer to our fam­ily.

“I found that the job was open, and Stan [Jop­lin] and I still main­tain a friend­ship and a good re­la­tion­ship. He was a men­tor to me as a young col­lege coach, and he gave an op­por­tu­nity to be a Divi­sion I as­sis­tant coach, and he al­lowed me to grow in his pro­gram. I’ve al­ways been ap­pre­cia­tive of that.”

Si­mon doesn’t ex­pect his tran­si­tion back to the high school game to be dif­fi­cult.

“With any coach­ing job — whether its mid­dle school, ju­nior high, high school or col­lege — there’s dif­fer­ent chal­lenges,” Si­mon said. “What hap­pens at the high school level is that I can make an im­pres­sion on these young kids. My job is to con­tinue to build the pro­gram, build re­la­tion­ships, men­tor young men and pre­pare them for life.

“Hope­fully, they have ap­pos­i­tive ex­pe­ri­ence with some­one who will push them in a pos­i­tive di­rec­tion. Some­one who is a pos­i­tive role model and will mo­ti­vate them. I’m look­ing for­ward to the chal­lenge. I’ve met some of the play­ers and have ap­pre­ci­ated their ef­fort, and they seem like a great group of guys. I’m ex­tremely ex­cited and look­ing for­ward to it.”

Southview was 70-26 over­all the past four sea­sons un­der Smith, in­clud­ing a 24-1 record and NLL cham­pi­on­ship (14-0) in 2014-15. The Cou­gars were 15-9 over­all last sea­son.

Smith, who re­signed April 24, was 433-216 over­all in 30 sea­sons as a high school head coach, in­clud­ing four sea­sons at Delta (1987-91) and 22 sea­sons at Whit­mer (1991-2013).

Contact Steve Junga at sjunga@theblade.com, or 419-724-6461 or on Twitter @JungaBlade.

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Tag(s): High School  Sylvania Southview  Sylvania Southview  Steve Junga