By Tom Robinson, NEPASportsNation.com
The Elk Lake School Board voted Tuesday night to make Kyle Kiehart the new head coach of Lackawanna League Division 4’s most successful boys basketball program.
The decision completes the 28-year-old Lakeland graduate’s rapid ascension to his goal of a varsity head coaching job.
After playing at Lackawanna College, then completing his degree at Penn State University, Kiehart came back to coach in both Lakeland basketball programs. The school’s all-time leader boys scorer, coached seventh-, eighth-, then ninth-grade teams before becoming a varsity assistant on the boys side. He was the school’s girls basketball head coach for the past two seasons.
“Coaching on the boys side has always been a dream of mine,” Kiehart said in a telephone interview Wednesday. “For my kind of physical, up-and-down style, I think it could work better with the boys.”
Kiehart, who was also a three-year quarterback on the football team and a pitcher with a playoff no-hitter to his credit during his Lakeland days, faced Elk Lake in basketball as a player in his junior and senior seasons.
“I have a lot of respect for Elk Lake,” Kiehart said. “What they’ve done with the program over the last 10 years has been great. I’m just trying to add to that success, maybe put a little something else in and take them just a notch higher.”
After dealing with small roster numbers and no junior varsity games with the Lakeland girls, Kiehart said he hopes to encourage “a lot of kids” to be involved in the Elk Lake program. In addition to varsity, junior varsity and freshman teams, his goal is to build a large roster of junior high players with which to work and even get players started earlier.
“To me, it’s so important to work with youth programs and get the kids excited coming up,” Kiehart said. “If you can kind of get them what you want them to learn at that level, it gets a lot easier when they come to the varsity program.”
Kiehart currently is coaching the NEPA NXT 8th grade boys travel AAU team out of Riverfront Sports in Scranton.
The Lakeland girls went from 4-11 to 10-13 and advanced to the District 2 Class 3A semifinals in the first of Kiehart’s two seasons as varsity head coach. The Lady Chiefs were 9-13 in the recently completed season, just missing the playoffs.