CINCINNATI -- As the organizer of the annual Ohio North-South All-Star Basketball Game, Wally Vickers had a watershed moment while driving home from the Columbus area in late April.
For almost three years, the longtime high school area boys' basketball coach didn't know if he wanted to be a head coach at the high school level again.
Yet, he felt coaching was still his blood. He wanted to get back into the game as a head coach and impact young lives. He just needed the right fit.
"I like being able to work with young people and the processes that go with that," Vickers said. "Being able to teach life lessons and helping them from boys to men. I am so passionate about basketball."
On Monday, the match was completed. Clark Montessori, a Division III program, named Vickers as its next head boys’ basketball coach Monday afternoon nearly three years to the date that he retired from coaching at Lakota East.
Vickers, 55, discussed the opportunity with previous Clark Montessori coaches Scott Kerr and Darnell Parker. He learned about Clark Montessori as a school not just athletics.
"They have a tradition of success," Vickers said. "Multi-sport athletes are valued."
Add to the fact that Vickers lives five minutes away in Oakley and this was the right fit he'd sought.
“I’m very excited to be a part of the Clark community and athletic department,” Vickers said. “I’m looking forward to meeting the players and families and getting started. I appreciate the opportunity from the administration to work with the student-athletes here at Clark Montessori.”
Vickers is a very recognizable name in the area boys’ basketball scene. Moreover, he's run the North-South game for a number of years and has been a part of ProCamps since its inception in 1998. He's well-connected in the coaching community at the statewide level.
“Coach Vickers’ resume speaks for itself as he’s had many successful seasons over his tenured coaching career,” Clark Montessori Athletic Director Brian Meyer said. “As a former teacher, Wally remains focused on the whole student-athlete which will prove to be a great match for us here at Clark.”
Vickers, a Financial Advisor at OneCommonWealth Financial Group, will meet with the team and their families to discuss the next steps for the basketball program at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the school cafeteria.
Vickers had a 151-117 record in 12 seasons at Lakota East and won two Greater Miami Conference championships and a Division I district title before retiring from coaching and teaching at the school in June 2014, according to Rick Cassano of the Journal-News.
Vickers was also had a head coach for a combined 12 seasons at Sycamore, Hilliard Darby and Indian Hill.
Vickers was the second Lakota East hoops coach after the Lakota District split high schools in 1997-98. He has 32 years in education.
When Vickers decided to retire in 2014, he said he would not rule out coaching again. Lakota East was 16-8 in the 2013-14 season.
Vickers replaces Parker, who left Clark Montessori to become the Loveland girls’ basketball coach.
Clark was 12-12 overall and 6-7 in the Miami Valley Conference Scarlet division last winter.