Pending Board approval, Eric Huffer will be introduced as the new Boys Basketball Coach for the Chillicothe Cavaliers.
Huffer accepted the job offer Monday night and visited WBEX’s “Dan & Mike in the Morning” Tuesday.
“It’s great to be a part of Cavalier Nation” said the 30-year-old Huffer.
“I’ve always wanted to be a high school basketball, that’s what I’ve been passionate about… In sports there’s so many real life application things that can be taught and you can take and mold boys to be young men.”
Huffer, who played for Hall of Fame High School Coach Rick Van Matre in the 1990s said he always knew he wanted to teach and coach, something he’s enjoyed doing at the middle school and more recently college levels. This is his first high school varsity job. I While at McClain, Huffer’s team played in Hatton Memorial Gymnasium, winning a couple of Sectional Championships, including his senior year which ended in a 46-41 loss to West Holmes in the Regional. “(I) enjoyed this gym, had some good game s in this gym personally and as a team. He returned to the Cavs’ home floor after accepting the job Monday night.
“I went last night about 11:00 and they showed me the gym… I was just blown away.”
Huffer is well aware of the coaching legends who have walked the Hatton sidelines in the past. “They are big shoes to fill. I look forward to the challenge. One of the people I look up to said ‘This is one of the best coaching jobs in all of Southern Ohio’, it’s a challenge I’m willing to accept and take head on. I can guarantee, they’re gonna be a team that’ll play hard.”
Huffer has strayed to far from what he learned as a player at Greenfield, “I was fortunate to play for Rick Van Matre… (his team) wasn’t always the most athletic, but we did things right and we did the little things and those equal big things and that’s what I expect here at Chillicothe.”
Those who have watched McClain basketball over the years will wonder if he picked up some of his mentor’s characteristics. “My face will get red and I have this big vein in the middle of my forehead that’ll make an appearance during the games. My wife says I’m bi-polar when I coach basketball… there’s a different side of Eric Huffer… but I’m passionate about the game, that’s a characteristic I want to instill in our players on and off the court and everything they do.”
And after his high school playing days were finished, Huffer says he’s gleaned from those he has either played for or coached with. “I’ve been blessed to be taught by some great coaches (Van Matre at McClain, Joe Stewart at Southern State, Ray Slagel and Pat Estepp at Cedarville and Jason Beschta and his staff at Oklahoma Wesleyan) those are coaches who not only care about wins, but they care about their players and investing in them… that’s my goal as well.”
For the Cavalier players, Huffer will be their third coaching influence in as many seasons, and Huffer’s ready to get to work. “Our style will be very similar to the McClain Tiger teams of Rick Van Matre, especially in the SCOL… It’s a league that’s based on hard nose play. It’s based on fundamental basketball… it’s what we’re going to bring to Chillicothe.”
Huffer will be teaching Physical Education 1 & 2 at CHS.
Hear Huffer's Interview with Dan Ramey