Hammond High girls basketball coach Lawrence Chase was looking for a new challenge to his career. When Clark athletic director Dave Verta learned that Chase had resigned in June, the opportunity was open to scoop up the former Times Coach of the Year for the Pioneers.
"We made certain he knew that we had an opening," Verta said. "He puts the students first, then focuses on them as athletes. In our program, the sky's the limit. We're hoping he can come in and get things organized and develop a true program. We have athletes in the hallways that aren't playing basketball that could be. "
Chase, a Hammond High grad, led the Wildcats to a 58-48 record in five seasons. His team won a sectional title in his first season in 2007-08 when he was named the Times Coach of the Year and played in the sectional title games in 2009 and 2012.
"I felt like my career path was in place to make a change for growth," Chase said. "I was ready to do something different to enhance my career."
Chase had been the freshman boys coach at Hammond for four seasons before becoming the girls head coach.
Since Chase took over at Hammond during the 2007-08 season, Clark has had two girls basketball head coaches and no season with more than four wins. The Pioneers and Wildcats play in the Great Lakes Athletic Conference.
"(The Pioneers) definitely have a lot of potential," Chase said. "It's about getting all of that on the same page fundamentally and skill wise. They need to have the mind state of being successful. Winning games doesn't always mean they've been successful, but getting better skill wise and making strides together is also success."
Meanwhile, Hammond is searching for a replacement for Chase, who officially resigned in mid-June.
"I was kind of hoping he'd change his mind," Hammond High athletic director Larry Moore said. "We're looking for someone with the same type of demeanor he has. He worked hard for the girls and put a lot of time in. We want someone to come in with a lot of leadership skills."