GALION — One of Galion High School’s own is returning home to take the reins of the Tigers boys varsity basketball program.
Colby Bright, a 2002 alumnus of Galion, was hired Thursday during a special meeting of the Galion City School District’s board of education. He succeeds Ed Rich, who left after accepting a teaching position and the head boys basketball coach’s job at Bellevue High School.
Bright returns to his alma mater after one year as head coach at Crestline High School. The Bulldogs finished 4-19 overall and 3-15 in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference during the 2014-15 campaign.
Bright said the decision to accept the Galion job was fueled in part by his experience as a member of the 2015 Galion track and field team coaching staff as well as encouragement from new Tigers athletic director Kyle Baughn.
The board officially hired Baughn on Thursday to serve as assistant high school principal and athletic director. He was tendered a two-year administrative contract, effective July 1. A supplemental contract, not to exceed 20 days, was also approved to cover some work before his contract begins, primarily conducting interviews for the vacant girls basketball and softball head coach positions. He previously served as a math teacher at Galion Middle School and was part of the football coaching staff.
“Being at Galion this spring was really good,” Bright said. “And then Kyle and I talked about the job. It’s just the right thng for me to do. It made sense to come back. It feels like home.”
Bright said he enjoyed last season at Crestline and that his experience there was valuable.
“A lot more goes into being a head coach than people think,” Bright said. “It was nice to get that exposure at Crestline. I think it will make the transition easier at Galion. There’s a lot of talent at Crestline. They will be good whoever coaches them.”
Prior to taking the Crestline job last summer, Bright coached the Galion boys junior varsity team for two years. He also spent two seasons as the seventh-grade coach and one year as the eighth-grade Tigers basketball boss.
Despite losing its first four games of the 2014-15 campaign, Galion rebounded to finish with a 10-14 overall record. The Tigers finished in a three-way tie for fifth in the Mid Ohio Athletic Conference with a 6-8 mark.
Eight of the 14 players on last season’s original roster are expected to be back in the fold for the 2015-16 run. All eight were juniors, including All-District point guard Houston Blair (13.7 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 3.6 apg) and Kalvin Rinehart (7.7 ppg, 4.9 rpg).
“We’ve got a lot of experience coming back and our depth is good,” Bright said. “We’ll be better for it. Right now, we’ve got eight seniors and maybe 10 coming out.”
Blair said the Tigers are excited to have Bright on board to lead the program.
“I like the thought of Colby Bright being our new head coach,” said Blair, who will be a senior this fall. “He’s a former Galion player and alumnus. Bringing in a coach that has played for Galion once before will show his spirit and dedication while coaching.”
Blair said he and other Tigers are looking forward to the high-tempo style of play that Bright will employ.
As a student at Galion, Bright excelled in basketball and track and field, finishing 15th on the boys basketball all-time scoring list with 677 points. He went on to Bluffton University where he competed in track and field and basketball. Bright graduated from Bluffton in 2006.