Greg Coleman always knew he’d find himself back at Lehigh coaching basketball after having been an assistant there a decade ago.
When Lightning position opened up in 2011, he decided it wasn’t the right time. He had been a head coach for just four seasons, and had finished his first campaign at Island Coast.
But when Lehigh head coach Dawn McNew stepped down in February after five seasons on the job, Coleman immediately took notice.
The Lightning had six applicants for the job, including one candidate from Delaware and interviewed three, two of which were phone interviews. They brought in McNew as a “head consultant,” athletic director Nicholas Dysert said.
Coleman, who had finished up his sixth season with the Gators, was given the program’s only face-to-face interview and was hired officially on Wednesday, though Lehigh announced the position within the school on Friday. He began his career as a freshman coach under Matt Herting at Bishop Verot, though later moved on to Lehigh, where he coached with then-head coach Mark Morehead.
“He wanted the job,” Dysert said. “He was an assistant here previously. As he told us in the interview, this was his dream job.”
Defeat. It was this unspeakable emotion Thursday night, after so much had happened for the Lehigh boys basketball team to get back on the court.
Basketball wasn’t the story. It was Lehigh.
And the Lightning, which had their entire roster available for the Region 6A-3 quarterfinal game at Golden Gate, had looked like the superior team for stretches, even building up a 12-point lead early in the third quarter.
But the Titans, as all teams do, made two runs. And the Lightning couldn’t stop them.
Capitalizing on an injury to starting point guard Stef’An Strawder, Golden Gate chipped away at the game in the second half, eventually using a last-second shot by Derick Charles to claim a 68-66 victory, ending the Lightning’s hopes of a third straight trip to the Region 6A-3 final and the promise of a state playoff appearance.
But within 9 minutes on Thursday, Lehigh lost Strawder to a hip injury after a drive through the lane.
He tried twice to get back on the court, forcing two long 3-pointers in his short minutes back on the court. But he was ruled out with 2:55 left in the third quarter.
“It started hurting more and more, so I just had to go out,” he said. “It was disappointing to me. I wanted to be out there to help my team win.”
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We get tickets to all the home games in December at East Lee County HS Boys and Girls Basketball Games.
12/1 Bishop Verot JV 6 V 7:30 pm 12/3 Oasis JV 6 V 7:30 pm
12/10 Cape Coral JV 6 V 7:30 pm 12/4 Lehigh Senior JV 6 V 7:30 pm
12/11 South FM JV 6 V 7:30 pm 12/15 Ida Baker JV 6 V 7:30 pm
12/14 IMG Academy JV 5:30 V 7 pm 12/17 Estero JV 6 V 7:30 pm
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Estero 21, Lehigh 7
Fort Myers 56, East Lee County 14 Click here to see photos
Miami Westminster Christian 42, Riverdale 6
James Chaney was back on the Lehigh football field Tuesday as the head coach of the Lightning, four weeks after being reassigned by the Lee County School District for a professional standards inquiry and five weeks since coaching his last game on the sideline.
“I’m happy to be back,” said Chaney, whose one-game suspension for unsportsmanlike conduct on Sept. 11 against South Fort Myers preceded his larger absence as head coach. “I’ve put all that behind me. And I just want to give these guys a chance.”
Surprisingly enough, Lehigh (2-5, 1-1) is still in the hunt for a playoff position in District 6A-11. The winner of its game against Estero (2-6, 1-1) on Friday will move on to the postseason, which is something the Lightning hasn’t accomplished since 2009.
“If they win, they’re in the playoffs,” Chaney said. “I’m telling them, if they prepare and practice hard and show up and be on time and play to the best of their ability, they can do well in this game.”
Lehigh 20 @ East Lee County 6
South Fort Myers 42 @ Riverdale 13
East Lee County 28 @ Bishop Verot 38
Lehigh 34 @ Cape Coral 23
Desoto County 6 @ Riverdale 25
Fort Myers 40 @ Lehigh Senior 7 Click Here Photos of Games and of Homecoming
Riverdale 14 @ Gulf Coast 32
East Lee County 13 @ Estero 39
News-Press Writer David Dorsey is reporting:
Lehigh Senior High School first-year football coach James Chaney has been removed from his positions at the school and has been replaced by Mike Farley, the team’s first-year defensive coordinator.
The Lee County School District has declined to explain Chaney’s removal, other than stating in an email he has been reassigned, pending an “inquiry with professional standards.”
Chaney, who is also an exceptional student education teacher at the school, did not coach in last Friday’s 29-28 loss to Island Coast and has not returned calls seeking comment.
Lehigh principal Jackie Corey has declined to comment due to district protocol regarding personal standard inquiries as to why Chaney, whom she hired, has been removed.
East Lee County — BY Week
Island Coast 29, Lehigh 28
Ida Baker 17, Riverdale 6