Chuck Ryan was hired as the next boys basketball coach at Lone Grove, he confirmed to The Ardmoreite on Friday.

He replaces Josh Mitchell.

“I’m really excited about it,” Ryan said. “I feel like God has opened the door for me over at Lone Grove, and I’m really excited about the future, excited to be a Longhorn.” 

Longhorns Athletic Director Jeremy Turner said he was impressed with Ryan’s plan.

“We were impressed with the way he ran his program at Dickson,” Turner said. “When he came in and interviewed, we were just really impressed with his vision for our program and running a similar program; he understands the dynamics of what it’s going to take to be successful here at Lone Grove.

“One of the things in his vision that was impressive to us was just how he would develop basketball players from the lower grades up through his varsity level. He had an impressive plan with that, and I really like the way that he talked about how his practices will be conducted. He’s very well organized and very well spoken. All in all, we were impressed with the things that he told us.”

Senior point guard Bryce Newton will graduate, but the Longhorns return rising junior Jeremy Lewis. Nathan Meek, who broke the school’s record for career three-pointers made, will be a senior.

Ryan won the interview with off-the-court aspects of the job, too.

“He’s impressed us as a teacher, an overall educator,” Turner said of Ryan. “Academics are very important to us here at Lone Grove. He is a very good teacher and he’s going to fit right in to the expectations we have, not only for our students, but for our school in general.

“He really talked a lot about unity within all of our athletic programs, how coaches work together. He talked about how he really liked the family atmosphere of our coaching staff at Lone Grove and wanted to be a part of that. That was important to me as an athletic director. I think he’s going to fit in with all of our other coaches really, really well. For our kids, he’s a great role model, a real stand-up guy, a great example of how to be a good man, husband and father for our young men and women here at Lone Grove.”

Ryan leaves behind a pair of dynamic sophomore guards in Michael Nail and Cole King. The development of rising junior Tanner Tippett — a 6’6” forward — is key for Dickson. Ryan said some sophomores will surprise on a team with quality senior leadership in Ashchen Bean and Wesley Mills. Landon Anderson is 6’5” and a rising junior.

Rising sophomores Justin Rutledge and Ty Frasier played some quality minutes late in the season, Ryan said, and increase reasons for optimism next season.

In fact, the Comets lose only one senior — point guard Dylan McGee.

“We’re going to hire the best person that’s available,” Gardner said.

Dickson girls basketball coach Todd Vargas congratulated Ryan.

“There is no one that has even been more loyal to Dickson schools and the Dickson community than you,” he tweeted. “God bless you and Jackie!”

Dickson Athletic Director David Gardner said he is already accepting applications and resumes. He thanked Ryan for his work as a Comet.

“Coach Ryan did an excellent job for us in all aspects, in the classroom and as the coach, he did a good job with our young men. We wished him the best.

Ryan said Dickson is deeply ingrained in his life. He spent 13 years as a student there, and nine years as a coach.

“Dickson has been a special place to me,” Ryan said. “It’s where I graduated from. They’ve got a great group of administrators out there. Larry Case, the superintendent, who’s been involved as a basketball coach himself for 30 years all over the state. Gardner is an ex-coach. Those two guys, I have no doubt they’re going to find an incredible coach to replace (me). It’s going to be a good job for somebody. They took their licks last year and they’ll be better next year, that’s for sure.

“I can’t say enough about what Dickson has done for me. Dickson has a lot of good people. Lone Grove is just a great opportunity. It’s a great place, not just for athletics but an all-around great place. I’m excited and humbled to get to be a part of it. I’m really excited at the direction at the direction that Lone Grove’s going.”