Editor’s note: Sporting Pumpkin will have much more on this story later this weekend.
By Brad Morris
The time was right.
After 24 years as a head coach, all at Logan Elm, Doug Stiverson told his players on Friday that he was stepping down as the chief of the Braves.
“I just felt like it was the right time, both for my family and me, and it was a decision that I didn’t take lightly,” Stiverson said. “Being a head coach, especially in these times, is a very demanding position and, after 24 years, I felt like I was to a point where I didn’t want to put the time that I think needs to be put in to run a program that our kids deserved.
“My family has made sacrifices over the years that I’ve been coaching, and I want to spend more time with my family and doing some things you don’t have as much time to do when you are a head coach.”
Stiverson, 52, amassed a record of 373-179 during his tenure at Logan Elm, leading the Braves to seven Mid-State League Buckeye Division championships, five Southeast District championships and two district runner-up finishes. His crowning achievement was leading the 2009 Braves to the state Final Four, becoming the first Pickaway County boys basketball team to qualify for the state tournament since 1945.
Stiverson, a career-based intervention teacher at Logan Elm through Pickaway-Ross Career and Technology Center, plans to remain at Logan Elm.
“I told the kids that I’m still going to be around and that I am going to help Logan Elm anyway that I can,” he said. “I appreciate what this community has done for our basketball program, my family and I, and we have always been comfortable here, probably because it’s similar to the community that I grew up in (Stiverson is a Logan High School alumnus).”
Stiverson wanted to thank his family for their support and sacrifice over the years that allowed him to build one of the top programs in the Southeast District.
“As a head coach, you are away from home a lot for practices, games, scouting and the other activities that a head coach has to do,” he said. “It requires your family to make some sacrifices and I am so thankful for my wife, my two daughters who both basically grew up in a gym and also the support of my mom and dad, who rarely have missed a game.
“Your family wins and loses with you and the support they have given me means the world.”
Stiverson also reflected on his coaching staff, including former players who have went on to become coaches in the program.
“It takes a coaching staff to have a successful basketball program and I have some of the top assistant coaches in the Southeast District, starting with Jeff Holbert, who I was blessed to get to join our staff from Westfall a number of years ago, along with Nate Dropsey, who worked his way up from our junior high program and has spent the last nine years coaching our junior varsity,” he said. “Jeff and Nate really care for our kids and for them to be successful in the classroom and on the basketball court. They are willing to do anything necessary to help our kids develop their skills and be there to support them in any way that they can. I also think back to Sky Brusco from my early years here and Tim Williams, who is now our superintendent here at Logan Elm, and their commitment to the program and doing things the right way, along with our middle school coaches like Tom Congrove, Jeremy Neff and Damon Baker.
“We’ve also been fortunate to have a number of our former players come back and coach in the program, whether it was on our varsity staff, junior high or biddy, former players like Tyler Cassidy, Beau Stidham, Evan Blake, Kyle Reichelderfer, Nate Elswick, Dillon Young, Seth Baldwin, Trace Smith, David Harden, Jared Harrington and I am probably going to leave a name or two out.”
Stiverson, who also thanked the community for its support over the seasons, touched on some of the memories he has of his tenure leading the Braves.
“It was a process building the program, starting with winning our first sectional in 2003 in my fourth year here and getting to go down and have our players play in the Convo for the first time and then for our coaches to coach in the Convo, which is something everyone enjoys,” he said. “Bloom-Carroll and Canal Winchester were the top programs in the league when I got here and to go up to Canal Winchester in 2004 and win our first league championship was special. I still have a picture on my wall from that game.
“We had a lot of memories over the years in the Convo, winning a lot of games but also losing some games that were classics between two pretty good teams. Having 10,000 people in the Convo for our 2005 district final against McClain was an incredible atmosphere to be part of and I think that team set the stage for us to come back in 2006 to win our first district championship, finally beating McClain after losing to them the previous two years in the tournament, and then defeating Fairfield Union in an All-MSL district final. We came up one point short against eventual state champion Chillicothe in 2008 and I think that set the stage for 2009. Our kids said, ‘why not us’, and they won the district, beat Chillicothe in the regional and got to the state tournament, which was a magical experience for everyone. I also have to mention our district championship teams of 2010, 2014 and 2020, when we got to the Sweet 16 as a seventh seed but unfortunately did not get to play in the regional due to the COVID-19 pandemic canceling the rest of the season.”
While Stiverson treasures the championships and wins from his tenure leading the Braves, he cherishes the enduring relationships with his former players even more and the success that they have in the greatest game of all, life.
“You remember the wins and the losses, but what defines a coach is wanting your players to leave the program as better people and have a positive and lasting impact in their lives,” he said. “Our players have gone on to become good businesspeople, community members, fathers and husbands, and that’s more rewarding than any win I have.
“I have some great relationships with my former players, and I consider a number of them good friends. Our program is a family and that goes well beyond the basketball court, and that’s our lasting legacy.”