Last Thursday, the Jackson County Board of Education approved the hire of new boys and girls basketball coaches at Ripley High School. Evan Faulkner was named the new head coach for the Ripley Vikings boys basketball team.
Faulkner, who spent last season as an assistant coach for the University of Charleston Golden Eagles, was a two-year standout player for the Golden Eagles, earning third team all WVIAC honors as a senior in the 2012-13 season. He transferred to UC from Radford University in 2011, where he spent his freshman and sophomore years playing for the Highlanders.
“I’m extremely excited about the opportunity,” Faulkner said, “I’m very thankful that Mr. Hosaflook and Steve Lough have entrusted me to run the boys basketball program here at Ripley High. The community here is very special and many people have reached out to congratulate me and help me feel welcomed, which is very encouraging.”
A native of Sandyhook, Kentucky, Faulkner will take over for Craig Harmon, who retired at the end of last season.
Harmon had two stints as head coach of the Vikings (from 1988-1994 and then from 1998-2013) for a total of 21 seasons. Faulkner is taking the reigns of a program that is on an upward trajectory, with several returning key players.
“We want to establish a culture here based on work ethic, toughness, and discipline,” Faulkner added, “We have multiple kids that gained valuable experience last year that will be a huge benefit going forward. If we can get our kids to buy into that culture, we’ve got a chance to build something special.”
Although they finished last season 8-16, they doubled their win total from the previous season.
The loss of leading scorer Kade Harrison will be made a little easier with the return of a young, exciting core. Sophomore point guard Jamison Hunt, who averaged 12 points per game and was named to the Honorable Mention All State team as a freshman, will be a focal point in the upcoming season.
Additionally, the Vikings will also have returning bigs in the paint in the form of 6-foot-6 junior Luke Layhew and 6-foot-4 Chase Johnson will be a sophomore.
“We’re extremely excited for the employment of Mr. Faulkner, and we’re excited for the future of Ripley basketball,” said Jackson County Schools Superintendent Blaine Hess, “The energy he’s going to bring to the program, as well as his competitive nature, will be something that is welcomed by the students, parents, and community as we move toward a new era in Ripley basketball.”
The Board of Education also named John Kennedy as head coach of the Lady Vikings basketball team.
Page 2 of 2 - Kennedy, who served as an assistant coach for three seasons before sitting out last season, will take over for Justin Frashier, who resigned at the end of last season.
The Lady Vikings finished last season with a 4-18 record, but will return several key players next season.
“It’s been a goal of mine to be a head coach,” Kennedy said, “I’m fired up about this opportunity and ready to work.”
Kennedy went on to say that he is excited about the opportunity to change the perception of basketball in the county.
“I want to change the attitude and culture with Lady Viking basketball,” Kennedy added, “I want there to be a buzz in our community about basketball again with both programs. I think Coach Faulkner will do a great job with the boys. I’ve already met with the girls and they are excited to start working. It will be a fun brand of ball to come watch. We are going to be in your face from the tip to the end of the game.”