By Josh Sigler
Eastern High School will be searching for a new boys basketball coach after informing Kyle Bedwell he will not be returning next season.
The move will be presented to the school board Tuesday.
An Eastern graduate, Bedwell took over for the retiring Duane Keisling following the 2010-11 season after previously serving as the junior varsity coach. The Comets went 8-35 in Bedwell’s two seasons, including a 3-18 mark this year.
“I never gave up on the kids,” Bedwell said. “I wanted to see our plan all the way through, but it just wasn’t to be. The school wanted to go in a different direction.
“Most of all, I will miss the relationships with the kids,” he continued. “That’s something as a teacher and coach that you love. Fortunately, I will still be teaching at Eastern, but coaching-wise that’s what I will miss the most, seeing kids grow as basketball players and on into adulthood. I will still be able to watch from the crowd. We have a lot of great kids here at Eastern, and I know the kids will do well for whoever comes in next. It’s a great school with great kids, and it’ll be a great opportunity for someone else.”
Keisling had previously served as Eastern’s boys basketball coach in 1988, and led the Comets to winning records in 1989 (11-10) and 1991 (13-9).
Keisling got out of coaching for several years before returning to lead Eastern’s program once more, this time for three seasons, beginning with the 2008-09 campaign. He led the Comets to a 12-9 finish in the 2009-10 campaign, marking Eastern’s first winning season since his last tenure in 1991.
In that span, Eastern failed to reach the 10-win plateau in any season, and won five or fewer games in a season seven different times.
Bedwell led the Comets to a 5-17 mark in his first season, where the Comets drew a first-round bye in the sectional and reached the sectional championship game before bowing out to Tipton 66-38 on the Blue Devils’ home floor.
Eastern has not won a sectional championship since 1956, when the Comets won the Kokomo sectional, their only sectional title in boys basketball.
“I think that a youth program needs to be fully installed, and I feel like we got the beginnings of that put in place,” Bedwell said. “Our sixth-grade team won the Howard County tournament this year, and our fifth-grade team was above .500 or right at it. Those two grades are the first two to play together as a team before team basketball begins in middle school. Before that, there was no real program for the youth. That’s going to take time, and I think the future of Eastern basketball, as long as that is kept in place, is bright.”
Attempts to reach Eastern athletic director Brad Wilson Saturday night were unsuccessful.