Quaker Valley Hall of Famer takes reins of school’s girls basketball program

Sunday, July 11, 2021 | 11:01 AM

Quaker Valley has been a focal point in many chapters of Ken Johns’ life.

He was a three-sport athlete at the school, coached at the youth and middle school levels and has watched his children make their athletic impact with the Quakers.

Now he’s ready to add to his Quaker Valley story as the girls basketball coach.

Quaker Valley hired Johns to take the reins of a Quakers girls basketball team that made the Class 4A girls basketball final last year. He takes over for Tom Demko, who stepped down after three seasons. The Quakers made the playoffs all three of those years.

“I’m very excited about it,” Johns said. “I’ve been thinking about it for a long time. The opportunity presented itself, and after going through the interview process, I was just so excited that they offered me the job. I know the girls and have coached many of them since they first picked up a basketball. It’ll be fun to get re-engaged with a lot of them and meet some new ones and continue the success they’ve had the last few years.”

Johns, a 1987 Quaker Valley grad, ran cross country and track and played basketball in his high school days. He went on to run track at Ohio and was inducted into the Quaker Valley Sports Hall of Fame in 2015.

His son, K.C., a 2020 Quaker Valley grad, started on the boys basketball team and currently plays at Allegheny. His oldest daughter Lilly graduated this spring and played on the basketball team, and his youngest daughter Nora is rising junior. Nora is on the basketball team and won the 2021 PIAA gold medal in the 300-meter hurdles.

Johns was involved with the Quaker Valley youth basketball program for eight years and spent several years coaching the middle school program.

He’s coached many of the girls he’ll have on the roster. It’s a group that he’s confident can keep the program’s recent success going.

“The girls we have returning played against a senior class the last several years that were all good, and some of them went on to play at Division I colleges. That’s definitely prepared them,” Johns said. “I also think winning is contagious. When you’re exposed to winning, you are used to it and that becomes the expectation. That’s a great situation to walk into.

“We have several athletic programs at Quaker Valley that have had sustained success for some time, and you look at them and ask yourself, ‘Why not girls basketball? We’ve had some recent success, but why not sustained success?’ When you see what it takes to compete at a higher level like our returning players have, that will do them well not only this year, but going forward.”

Johns has met with the team, and they’ve had a few open gyms. He said there have been good turnouts and overall general excitement about what’s to come for the program.

“We’re a little behind where we would typically be with missing some summer leagues in June, but we’ll make up for it,” Johns said. “We have some things planned for later this summer and in the fall. I think everyone was a little curious, including myself, with what was going to happen. Now we have a plan and we’re ready to go. We’ve been working on fundamentals in the gym and implementing some things we want to do both offensively and defensively.”

Jerin Steele is a freelance writer


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