By Brad Morris
The passion that Brian Bigam has for the national pastime is well-known, but it is shared equally by his passion to coach girls basketball.
“Ever since I started coaching girls basketball as an assistant for (Steve Kalinoski), I realized how much that I enjoy coaching girls basketball and enjoy working with the kids. I enjoy coaching girls basketball as much as anything,” Bigam said.
Pending approval by the Circleville City Schools Board of Education, Bigam will return to the bench for his second stint as the girls basketball coach for the Tigers, following the retirement of Kalinoski.
“Once the job opened back up after Coach K decided to retire, it was an easy decision to apply for it,” Bigam said. “I’m a Circleville graduate, I love Circleville, I love our student-athletes and I’m very excited to build on the tradition that Circleville girls basketball has.”
Bigam has coached in the program for 10 seasons, five years as an assistant for Kalinoski and five years as head coach from 2012-16. During Bigam’s final year at the helm, the Tigers won a share of the Mid-State League Buckeye Division championship and finished as district runner-up, earning the CHS grad league and district coach of the year honors.
Bigam stepped aside following the 2016 season to manage the Chillicothe Paints and led them to the Prospect League championship in 2019. Bigam, who said he will also continue to coach baseball for Circleville, led the Tigers to their first state tournament appearance in 2018.
The Circleville graduate discussed taking over the program from Coach K.
“I’ve coach 10 years with Coach K, so I know that they don’t come any better than him. I’ve always enjoyed working with him or having him at my side when I was the head coach,” he said. “The foundation of the program is set and it’s a strong foundation with what Coach K and his assistants Coach (Evan) Callihan and Coach (Jill) McFarlan have put in place and have done things the right way.
“Our goals will continue to be for the kids to work hard, play hard, have fun and win. It’ll be nice for the kids that Coach K and I run a lot of the same stuff, so there will be that familiarity. There are some areas where Coach K and I share the same type of personality and there are some other areas where we are different, but we agree on the fundamentals and the core of what makes a program successful.”
One philosophy that both Bigam and Kalinoski share is for the Tigers to be a strong defensive team.
“Defense has been the calling card of this program for years and it will continue to be,” Bigam said. “There are games where you shoot the ball well and there are other games where you may have an off night shooting, but you can always play good defense with great effort.
“It’s our staple to be a well-conditioned team, to box out and make teams grind to have to compete with us.”
The Tigers went 10-13 last season but are slated to return most of their starting lineup and have strong classes coming up with the incoming freshmen, which won the league championship this past winter, and eighth-grade that should help lead the program back to being a strong contender in the league and district. Bigam’s daughter, Maddux, will be a sophomore on the 2023 squad.
“I was able to coach Maddux’s group for three years of biddy ball and then when Coach (Bobby) Lombardo and Coach (Nick) Hamman needed some help, I stepped into coach those two groups that we have coming up,” Bigam said. “We have some tremendous groups of girls with good work ethic that love to play the game of basketball. We’ll add those groups over the next couple of years to the current varsity team, which has some good players coming back for next season. There should be some exciting times ahead for Circleville girls basketball.”