REEDSVILLE - John Burdette wanted to wait another two years before becoming the head varsity girls basketball coach at Eastern High School.
But the results the last three seasons since he assumed the head girls cage reins of the Eagles can't be argued with - a record of 52-18.
Especially the 2009-10 season and the one just completed when Eastern posted 20-3 and 22-3 marks, reaching the district finals and the regional finals, respectively. ''The girls understood what was going on and we had some pretty good ball players,'' said Burdette, giving the credit for Eastern's success under his tutelage to the players.
This year, the Eagles bowed to Harvest Prep, which went on to capture the Division IV state championship.
Burdette, from Coolville, Ohio, went to Federal Hocking and then to Meigs for his last two years of high school, playing basketball and running track, competing in the high jump, 100, relays and discus. After going to Ohio Valley University, where he played basketball for two years, Burdette ''got into dirt-track racing for 15 years'' all over the eastern half of the U.S. and even into Canada.
''I had always played basketball, but racing kind took the place of basketball for me,'' related Burdette. ''But then my kids (Jonathan, a senior at Eastern, and Jenna, an Eastern freshman) got older, started getting ino sports and I didn't want to short them. So basketball kind of took the place of racing again, coming full circle for me.''
Burdette first coached Jenna in basketball eight years ago, ''then dabbled in summer ball and came up through (the ranks) and coached the junior high for a couple years.'' At that point, the thought of coaching his daughter in his high school became a possibility. And although Burdette would have liked to have waited for that opportunity until she was a freshman, when the head varsity position opened up and he was offered it, he took it with Jenna in seventh grade.
But everything has worked out for the best for Burdette, who established his credentials as the Eagles' head girls coach with the back-to-back superb seasons.
For 20 years, Burdette has worked for the Ohio Department of Transporation in Athens, where he is the assistant superintendent of the transportation management team.