NEW CASTLE — A year away from coaching was long enough for Larry Ondako.
The former Westminster College men’s basketball coach is keeping his talents in the local area after being named Monday night to coach the Union High girls basketball team.
“It’s exciting. I’m excited to be back coaching,” Ondako said. “I’ve been around coaching and coached my whole life, so I’m excited.”
The timing was right for Ondako to put his name back into the coaching circuit, a year after Westminster moved in another direction for its basketball program by not asking him back after the 2011-2012 season.
“Everything is just opportunity and timing. So much plays into it,” he said. “There were so many factors in taking the Union job. For one, one of my former players, Brian Fadden, was the previous coach there. He did an excellent job there. I loved coaching him as a player and I know he was doing things the right way. It’s a nice situation with how the program is set up.
“Second is the people from the top down, from the superintendent to the people I interviewed with and the athletic director. It’s been a strong athletic department and school district.”
Ondako coached the Titans for nine seasons as head coach, compiling a 96-143 record (.402), including a 6-20 mark he final year. He also spent five years as an assistant coach under Jim Dafler. Ondako’s 2003-2004 team won the Presidents' Athletic Conference title.
The drop from the college ranks to high school isn’t a step backward, according to Ondako, who is excited for the opportunity to do what he loves.
“To me, it’s coaching. I’m not a college coach, I’m not a high school coach, I’m not even a basketball coach,” he said. “I enjoy coaching. Coaching didn’t fit into my schedule last year and it happens to now. Again, opportunity, timing and location all factor in. I decided it was time to get back in it.”