It did not take long for Belle Vernon High School to find a replacement for head coach Lisa Fairman after she was hired to take over the Thomas Jefferson girls basketball program May 8.
Monday night, the Belle Vernon school board hired 29-year-old Ronnie Drennen to be the Leopards’ head coach.
“I am very honored and excited to be hired as the girls head coach,” Drennen, a Baldwin resident, said. “My staff and I are going to bring a lot of energy, passion and excitement to the team and the program.”
As soon as Drennen heard the position was open, he knew he wanted to apply.
“I immediately jumped on it and applied because I feel I can change how the girls game is played through a skill and team standpoint,” he said. “I have a mindset of how I want the team to play and incorporating the skill development that not many coaches can provide will allow us to reach new heights.
“I have had the opportunity to train a lot of the current female players on the roster and the younger girls in the district.”
Belle Vernon athletic director Matt Humbert liked the hiring of Drennen.
“Ronnie was an appealing candidate and having him in house as a teacher is big,” Humbert said. “He is enthusiastic and dedicated and we will benefit from having him as a head coach. He will live basketball 365 days a year.”
Drennen, who played at Point Park University, is in his third year as a physical education teacher at Marion Elementary in the Belle Vernon school district.
After one season as the freshman coach at Baldwin, Drennen spent the last five years as an assistant on the boys staff at Belle Vernon under former head coach Kyle DeGregorio and helped the team win section titles each of the last two years.
Drennen also coached AAU basketball for six years and is a professional skills trainer with I’m Possible Training.
“Being with I’m Possible the last four years has provided me with the opportunity to train some of the best talent in Western Pennsylvania,” he said. “I currently train most of the boys and girls basketball players in the district from fifth grade through 12th.”
Belle Vernon graduated five senior starters, so does Drennen see the upcoming season as a rebuilding project?
“I do not. I see it as a great opportunity,” he said. “It won’t be easy replacing five senior starters but we are going to put time in effectively in order to make sure we are ready to compete at a high level this coming season.
“I know what it takes to build something special as we did with the boys program and we are going to be committed, dedicated and focused on becoming a better version of ourselves every day.”
Drennen said he and assistant Shara Kapr will not waste time starting work with the Leopards.
“We will be in the gym three to four times a week starting next week,” he said. “I have already made a summer schedule that I will hand out during our players meeting.
“I am extremely excited to bring Shara on staff with me because she is a great person and role model for the girls, adds a ton of value and we worked really well together last year on the boys staff.”