POCA, W.Va. — Veteran Poca boys basketball coach Allen Osborne on Monday night was officially approved by the Putnam County Board of Education for a return to the Dots as head coach following a two-year absence.
The move was in the work for weeks, but only made official this week.
Osborne spent some of the three-week practice period with his new players.
“It’s been very positive and the kids have been excited,” Osborne said. “We had enthusiasm and a lot of fans have been excited, saying they’re going to come back to games and are looking forward to having a pretty good team, hopefully, and getting things going again.”
Osborne previously spent 38 seasons at the helm, winning 627 games in that span, including state championships in 1997 and 2015.
After a runner-up finish in 2016, Osborne stepped down, later diagnosed with sleep apnea.
“I had no energy,” Osborne said. “But I got that straightened out, started feeling really good and helped out at the University of Charleston last year, which was a great experience.
“Once I started feeling better, I really missed it a lot. I missed the kids and I missed coaching,” he continued. “This wasn’t planned, but when the job opened up at Poca, I applied for it and got it.”
It was one of Osborne’s assistants, Derek Ragle, who took over at Poca when Osborne departed, going 19-6 in 2017 and 5-18 this past season with a young group.
“We have a lot of kids back who played last year,” Osborne said. “So with that year of experience, hopefully they can learn and grow from that. We also have a pretty good freshman group coming in and I think we’ll have a very competitive team.”
Gary Cullifer and David Dunkley were also officially approved as assistant coaches on Osborne’s staff on Monday night as well.
“We have a lot of things going for us,” Osborne said. “Everyone wants athletics to do well and we have a good school administration. We’ve had success and it’s something the people are really proud of. Hopefully we can get that going again. It’s an exciting time.”