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Published: Thursday, 8/12/2004

Pitsenbarger could hardly wait for Waite

BY STEVE JUNGA
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

After a few years of reflection, David Pitsenbarger decided he'd like to take another crack at coaching the Waite High School boys basketball team.

That was good enough for the school's athletic committee, who settled on Pitsenbarger to replace Joe Suboticki, who accepted the same post at Scott earlier this summer.

Pitsenbarger, 41, graduated from Waite in 1983, previously coached basketball for 13 seasons with the Indians, including the last three (1998-2001) as head coach.

In 2001 Pitsenbarger (27-34 at Waite) guided an underdog Indians squad to a City League playoff upset of top-seeded St. John's Jesuit in the semifinals, before losing a heartbreaker in Waite's first CL boys varsity basketball title-game appearance in 27 years.

The Tribe, which finished 13-8, fell when 6-10 Scott center Derrick Ford scored with two seconds remaining to give the Bulldogs a 48-47 victory.

"I was glad to be able to get the kids to that [CL championship game] level back then.

"I wish we could have finished it off. That was frustrating.

"In hindsight, I probably shouldn't have given it up. I think we could have continued to have some success. Now we'll have to start from the beginning again. But, we've got some good athletes coming up."

Pitsenbarger, an elementary school teacher, resigned before the 2001-02 season after trying unsuccessfully to secure a teaching position at Waite. He listed that as a reason, along with the increase of athletic transfers within the CL and the desire to spend more time with his family, for his resignation.

"I'm excited," Pitsenbarger said of his return.

"There's some things I need to take care of that I didn't before when I was here.

"I want to go after the younger kids [at East Toledo grade schools and junior high] harder and keep those kids on the east side.

"I wish I would have developed a program from the bottom level up through the junior high, because we've lost some good athletes to other schools over the years. I can think of about eight [quality] players.''

All-City players Damion Washington (mid 1990s) and Jamell Baldwin (2001) transferred from Waite to Scott for their senior years, and three key players from Libbey's district runner-up team last year - All-CL guards Jerome Pierce and Ernie Reed along with top sub Nate Miles - all went to the Cowboys directly from the East Toledo Junior High.

According to Waite athletic director Bob Utter, Darrion Griffin, who would have been the team's top returning player this year, has transferred to Scott, where he will continue playing for Suboticki.

"It's great," Utter said of having Pitsenbarger back.

Contact Steve Junga at:

sjunga@theblade.com

or 419-724-6461.



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