Lancaster – Athletic Director Jeff Whitehead is marking his 30th year coaching basketball at OUL. Whitehead is currently coaching the women's team on campus. But, over the three decades, he has done a little bit of everything. He has assumed several roles, including head coach and assistant coach for the men's team.
"He is awesome. Jeff gives us a structure but within that structure he allows us to do what we want," said OUL Women's Basketball Player Paige Stought. "He is the type of coach who wants to win, and he wants to help you improve as well."
Stought transferred to OUL after playing basketball at Ohio Dominican. A friend encouraged her to play at OUL and told Stought she would learn a lot from Whitehead.
"He has taught me to be smart.Coming here, I was a little out of control passing the ball places I shouldn't be passing it," said Stought. "So he's taught me a structure running the offense, and he's taught the team to play our game more."
Senior Men's Basketball Player Zac Bobo said one of the reasons he chose OUL for college was so he could continue playing basketball after high school. He said Whitehead was an assistant coach for the men's team during his first year.
"I've been here for four years playing basketball, and Jeff has always been here to help me and any student really that needs help," said Bobo. "When it comes to classes, he'll do absolutely anything he can to help you."
Both Bobo and Stought said that Whitehead is more than just a coach.
"He knows how to communicate to us. He knows exactly what to tell you since he's been through it before. He's been through everything," said Stought. "You ask him 'What should I do here?' and he has an answer right away. He has the experience that he knows what's going on. He knows how to help you. It's nice to have somebody there you can count on."
"You go in the gym, and you see so many women's basketball banners hanging up there. That really shows a lot," said Bobo. "He obviously knows what he is doing."
Whitehead was honored earlier this year at the Fairfield County Development Disabilities Celebration of Possibilities. He was selected for the Commitment Award because of the integral role he played in solidifying the relationship between a number of university programs and Fairfield DD. Whitehead helped build a partnership in The Zone; clients of Fairfield DD are employed at OUL's food service operation.
If you want to see Coach Whitehead in action, the women's team plays tonight (Wednesday, November 20) at home. Tipoff is at 5:30 p.m. in the Brasee Hall gym.