Consider the split final.
Wesley Chapel will post its girls basketball coaching vacancy a third time, even if it means losing one of the most successful coaches in program history, Karim Nohra.
Wesley Chapel opened all supplemental positions last spring in search of on-campus coaches, but did not dissuade existing coaches from reapplying. Athletic director Steve Mumaw said he played “phone tag” with Nohra, leaving him a deadline to return a final call before moving on. Mumaw said the call never came.
Nohra, a two-time St. Petersburg Times’ all-Suncoast coach of the year after back-to-back region final berths and a combined 28-7 record, did not return a message from the Times seeking comment.
Asked if Nohra was still a candidate, Mumaw said, “No, not at this time. …We had to get things going. He was given a time and date and we didn’t receive a call back.
“…You can’t question what the guy’s done for the program; he’s a quality coach. There’s not too many people that could have taken the teams he had the last two years to the regional finals. Once again it’s our philosophy to get someone on campus.”
Mumaw said the school interviewed three to five candidates, but none would consider an on-campus job. Meanwhile, Mumaw said three starters, whom he would not name, have transferred to other schools.
Without a coach, the loss of key players and no summer basketball program, returning to a fourth straight region final appears as unlikely as snow falling in Florida.
“That’s a concern, too,” Mumaw said. “Here we have a solid program three straight years in the region finals. We don’t want to destroy that program. We want to find the right fit for the position. Right now, the fit isn’t Karim.”
The rift appears to have started after Wesley Chapel announced its intent to open all supplements. Then in May, Wesley Chapel received transfers Shanel Sweet and Briahanna Jackson, both of whom former Wesley Chapel coach Warren Jones coached in his AAU program. With the basketball supplement opening, the table seemed set for Jones to return.
A closer look by county athletic director Phil Bell ended the Jones to Chapel talk, and Sweet and Jackson transferred to other county schools.
Since then, the program has remained dormant while others participated in summer basketball leagues.
Mumaw remains hopeful a viable candidate will emerge.
“This late into the hiring process, if we advertise one more time and there’s no candidates applying for a teaching position then we’ll have to open it up to people in just a supplemental position,” Mumaw said.
Izzy Gould can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 421-3886.