Boys Basketball: Veteran coach Burton takes over at North

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By Brad Stephens

North Oldham’s boys basketball program has struggled to establish stability in its short history.

North athletic director Alan Yanke hired a coach last week he thinks can bring that stability.

Assistant Rob Burton was hired to fill the Mustangs’ head coaching vacancy, the school announced May 14.

Burton, a North assistant the last six years, replaces Chris Stobaugh, who wasn’t retained after two years as North’s head coach. Stobaugh went 29-28 over two seasons, including an 11-17 mark in 2013-14.

“We had created a template of the type of coach we wanted and Rob Burton fit that the best,” Yanke said.

Burton is the seventh head coach for a program that played its first season in 2003-04. By comparison, Oldham County has had three head coaches during that period and South Oldham just one.

“I know the kids, I know their parents, their families, the community, the school, the administration,” Burton said. “It’s fantastic out here and we just haven’t had the opportunity to have stability in boys basketball.

“It’s like Billy (Martin), he’s been there nine years I think in the football program, and that continuity is very important... Several of our senior groups have had three coaches in four years, and that’s asking a lot from them. So we hope we can stabilize that.”

North has never won a Region 8 title during its short history. Part of the reason for that is because North has seen middle school players transfer to schools in Louisville or to other schools in the county when they reach high school age.

Another, Burton said, is that some male athletes choose to focus on other, more traditionally successful North sports like baseball or football instead of playing basketball.

“That’s one of the bigger challenges,” Burton said. “There’s a lot of good athletes but a lot of them go single-sport early. We don’t have the depth to be able to recover from a lot of that.”

Burton was an “appealing” candidate because he knows the landscape of the North community, Yanke said.

“He’s lived here for many years, his kids have gone here,” Yanke said. “He knows the teachers, he knows the culture, he knows the academic rigor, so he has a good base for some of the internal challenges that are there.”

The Mustangs lose three senior starters off last year’s team – Justin Cundiff, Adam Klingeman and Trevor Burton, Rob’s son.

The returning starters are Jon Jon Henry and Chris Burton, also Rob’s son.

Other returning players expected to figure into the rotation include Taylor Heckenberg, Duncan Gibbs, Ryan Jones, Jake Glascock, Patrick Geoghegan and Seth Hagan.

Travis Brown and Crosby Cameron, two frontcourt players who haven’t played in recent years, are rejoining the team, Burton said.

The Mustangs will be playing a more up-tempo system both offensively and defensively than they have in recent years.

Burton has started implementing that approach during open gym sessions and will continue to do so during June exhibition games.

“They know I’ve been here and they know I’m not going anywhere,” Burton said. “We can come in here stabilize everything, and turn it around a little bit.”

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