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Barbina takes over at ERC

December 2, 2013
By RICK THORP - Times Leader Sports Writer ( , Times Leader

An opportunity.

That's how Jordan Barbina views his role as head coach of the East Richland Christian boys basketball team.

An opportunity to, not only jump start his coaching career, but do at it a place that's important to him in a place that's important to him.

Article Photos

PICTURED IS the 2013-14 East Richland Christian boys basketball team. Front row, from left, are Jeremiah Mott, George Bell and Grant Bruner. Standing, from left, are Ian Berka, Joel Mott, Logan Lish, Trevor Hamm and head coach Jordan Barbina.

''It's going to be an interesting journey and I'm looking forward to it,'' said Barbina, a Union Local High School product.

Playing for the Jets is where Barbina's coaching itch began.

''It started with getting a football scholarship to play at Lake Erie College,'' he said. ''After a while I realized football wasn't for me.''

From there, Barbina returned to Belmont County and enrolled at Ohio University Eastern. He also decided to play hoops for the Panthers while pursuing his bachelor's degree in health services administration.

''I want to get into the coaching game,'' Barbina said. ''I've coached junior high football, I've coached jayvee baseball and now I have the opportunity to coach varsity basketball. The door for me has opened and I've walked through it.''

Barbina could've played one more season of hoops for OUE, but opted to coach the Lions instead.

''I've always loved basketball and this opportunity came up just out of the blue,'' Barbina said. ''It came open and I set my mind to it. I put in for it and here we are.''

Barbina's mom, Luanne, is a secretary at ERC and she's the one who told Barbina about the position.

''They didn't have a coach up until a few weeks before the start of practice,'' Barbina explained. ''It's tough because I'm putting in new plays and new stuff. It's a learning process for everyone.

This is the third year ERC has put a boys' varsity squad on the floor as an OHSAA-sanctioned club.

''I've seen them play a few times before because I attend college and play here, but that's all the background I had on them,'' Barbina said.

The Lions, winners of three games last season, play at OUE's Health and Physical Center, the same place as the Panthers.

Barbina admits being a head coach is a totally different animal than serving as an assistant. There's a myriad of duties a he must attend to now, but he thinks he has the background to do the job and believes ERC will allow him to grow.

''I did a lot of work with the Lafferty team of the Ohio Valley Baseball League,'' he said. ''That taught me a lot. It taught me a lot about running a team and running a business.''

His start-up work there did come in handy as he basically had to the same thing with the Lions.

''We simply had an open call to come out,'' Barbina said. ''I'll take on another three guys if they want to play.

''We only have seven on the roster. It's a positive, but a negative at the same time. You don't have to cut anyone, but your depth and practices are difficult.''

Nevermind. Even with only seven players Barbina is impressed with the quality of his group.

''You know what, though,'' he said, ''they are improving every day and getting better and better. That's what I love about this team.

''They play with a ton of heart. There is no stopping these kids and that's all you can ask for as a coach.''

Leading the way for ERC will be senior Logan Lish (6-1) and junior Joel Mott (5-11).

''Joel will be our point guard,'' Barbina said. ''He's by far the most-improved so far. We look forward to having him being a leader on and off the floor for us.''

Lish, meanwhile, will be a low-post presence.

''He's very outspoken and makes sure everyone gets to practice and gets things done,'' Barbina said. ''He knows these guys better than I do.''

Sophomore Grant Bruner (5-7) and freshman Jeremiah Mott (5-6) will play on the wings.

Senior George Bell (6-0), sophomore Ian Berka (6-2) and freshman Trevor Hamm (6-2) round out the roster.

''What we lack in height we have in heart and desire,'' Barbina said. ''I'm looking forward to the year and everything it has to bring and, hopefully, these guys grow on and off the court.''



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