As a member of the hiring committee charged with finding a new girls basketball coach, Perry High School athletic director Scott Campbell knew the timing of the search wasn’t ideal.
Perry elected not to retain coach Dave Waseity last month, instead deciding to seek a new coach with the start of the summer basketball season rapidly approaching.
Even while dealing with those constraints, the Perry administration feels it has secured one of the best available individuals in former Louisville girls coach Jeff Couto.
Perry superintendent Marty Bowe said Couto accepted the position after it was offered to him on Monday morning. Bowe will recommend Couto for approval to the Perry Local Schools Board of Education later this month. The board’s next scheduled meeting is 6:30 p.m. June 24 at Edison Middle School.
“We are indeed thrilled to have Jeff accept the position,” Bowe said. “Not only does his coaching record speak for itself, but he’s a man of impeccable character. You can tell from the moment you meet him that he’s all about doing the right things and he’s all about kids. That’s just exactly what we want.
“We’re thrilled to have him on board and we’re looking forward to him growing our kids.”
While the Perry search committee had a strong field of candidates, Campbell said Couto separated himself early in the process.
“Jeff came in and absolutely, was 100 percent what we were looking for,” Campbell said. “We had some really good external candidates and a really good internal candidate. With Jeff, though, you see it and you feel it when you meet him.
“We did our homework. We did not go into this blind. We asked and his name came up all the time. People told us that if this was who we were going after, then we’d be very lucky to get him.”
Couto was head coach at Louisville from 1999-2008, where he led the Leopards to a 127-74 record. He guided Louisville to Northeastern Buckeye Conference championships his final three seasons on the bench. He captured four consecutive Ohio District IV Coach of the Year honors from 2005-2008.
Couto served as an assistant basketball coach for the Malone University women’s team in 2010-11.
Perhaps just as impressive as Couto’s accomplishments on the court, he received the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s Sportsmanship, Ethics and Integrity award for the 2003-04 season.
Campbell said those are just some of the qualities Couto will bring to a youngPerry team that finished 14-11 last season.
“We’re getting him at the right time in his career,” Campbell said. “He’s kid-first and he teaches kids by motivation. When you call and ask people about Jeff, one of the biggest things that comes up is he’s one of the best teachers Louisville has. When I took over this job, the one thing I knew we would do is we would hire great teachers.
“Coaching and teaching go hand-in-hand and we’re very confident we’re getting one heck of a teacher and one heck of a coach.”
Reach David at 330-775-1129 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @dharpsterINDE