JPS Was Right In Rehiring Ricker

The Jamestown Public Schools District has made the right decision in giving Ken Ricker another chance to coach basketball in the district.

Ricker, many will recall, resigned his position as varsity girls’ basketball coach a few days after an incident in which he pushed one of his player during a game in January 2012.

There is no doubting Ricker’s coaching ability. Before resigning, Ricker had compiled a 141-31 record, including three Section 6 championships and ECIC Division 1 titles. Now, after taking some time off, Ricker is back coaching the game he loves at Persell Middle School – but only after learning a valuable lesson.

“I regret every part of it. It just went poorly. When I interviewed (at Persell), we talked about it and had a serious discussion about it. I knew they would be giving me a second chance. It certainly wasn’t who I was, and I told them it wouldn’t happen again. They let me know it was a big deal to give me another shot.”

Coaching, especially at the middle and high school level, is about much more than wins, losses and league championships. Parents trust coaches to know best how hard to work a child, and that coaches are always acting with the child’s best interest in mind. Coaches can play an important role teaching life lessons about dealing with disappointment, persevering when things begin going poorly and about working with people in a team dynamic.

Coaching at Persell is the first step in a long road for Ricker. There have been many high-profile examples of coaches who go too far with players and never learn their lesson. To his credit, it appears Ricker won’t make the same mistake again. Fans and parents will be watching his every interaction with players, and Ricker knows any complaint from a parent will be taken seriously by athletic director Ben Drake.

This is a second chance worth giving.