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No coaching change at Richland despite rumors

Tuesday, April 4, 2006

ESSEX - Richland head boys basketball coach Jeff Jennewein confirmed on Thursday night, that he will be back next season to coach the varsity Rebels.

For weeks, rumors have been flying around that former Scott County Central head coach Melvin Porter would replace Jennewein as head coach at Richland.

Internet message boards have been jumping recently with speculation that Porter had already been offered the head coaching position at Richland and there has been talk among coaches in the area of comings and goings at the Essex high school.

But according to Jennewein, the rumors are exactly that. Rumors.

"A board meeting was held at Richland and people who were not going to be retained for next year was given notice to that effect." said Jennewein. "I have not officially signed the new contract but from speaking to the superintendent (Ken Latham), no change will be made for the boys basketball position."

Jennewein did acknowledge that a position is vacant for a history teacher at Richland. Jennewein is under the impression that there is a possibility that the new teacher could also be an assistant with the boys team.

As for Porter, confusion over timing could have been the cause for the talk about Porter taking over at Richland.

"I know last year we tried to get him (Porter) as an assistant coach," said Jennewein. "That is the last contact Richland has had with Porter. Maybe some people misunderstood what was really going on. No contact has been made with Porter this year."

The Rebels went 8-14 in Jennewein's first season, an improvement over the 6-17 year the team the year before.

However, Richland played a lot of sophomores on varsity and next season should be one of optimism, with four of five starters returning. Junior Cameron Whittaker, sophomores Matt Ritch, Tommy Harlan and Nick Harris should return for the Rebels next season and will be seasoned with a lot of varsity experience.

Not oblivious to the speculation and innuendo, Jennewein is pleased that he can now concentrate on next year's basketball season.

"I have heard some talk about Richland going a different direction next year," said Jennewein. "But what can you really do about that? I have been told by Mr. Latham that I will be back and that is the end of the story, as far as I am concerned. Now, I will start to concentrate on getting us better for next year. We will be in a summer camp down in Gideon and I am working on some new things. I am excited to get going because I believe we will be improved and I just love working with this group of kids we have here at Richland. I am truly blessed."