Every high school athletic director dreams of a smooth transition when one coach leaves and another one arrives on the scene.
For Ron Anders, he believes that will happen with the boys basketball program at Juniata Valley.
Anders, the high school boys basketball coach at Valley the past eight seasons, is now the new athletic director at the school, replacing long-time AD Suz Price, who retired at the end of the school year. Anders' replacement as varsity basketball coach is T.J. Anderson, who was his junior high boys basketball coach the past three seasons.
Anderson was hired Wednesday night by the Juniata Valley School Board. He was one of three candidates, the other being Bill McGinnis, an assistant last year under Anders, and Brock Anders, a cousin of Ron Anders who coached at East Juniata High School last season.
"They were all three very deserving candidates," said Ron Anders, who offered positive input on all three candidates, but who did not have a vote in the hiring. "All three of them had great qualities."
The Mirror was unable to reach Anderson by phone or by social media before press time on Thursday night to comment on the hiring.
A 1994 graduate of T.C. Williams High School in Virginia and a 2002 Straford University (Va.) graduate in Computer Science, Anderson works in computer technical support at Juniata College. He coached under Brock Anders in 2006 at Huntingdon Area High School and also worked with the late legendary basketball coach John Swogger at The Summit Tennis & Athletic Club.
"I've had to replace the junior high position four times in my eight years, and T.J. brought stability to it," said Ron Anders. "This past season the team went undefeated before losing (in the Inter-County Conference championship game). He is very organized and brings a lot of energy. He is very passionate, and he is passionate about the kids."
Ron Anders posted an 89-67 record in his eight seasons, going 19-7 last year. An elementary school teacher in the Valley school district, he believes he was ready for a new challenge.
"I was thinking about stepping down (as basketball coach), and when this opportunity presented itself, it offered me a way to stay involved in sports," he said. "I am taking a breather from coaching, but I might get back into it someday. But this is a good time for me to transition into something else."
Anders feels his program will be in good hands with Anderson, whose uncle, Joe Anderson, is the all-time leading scorer in Saint Francis University men's basketball history.
"T.J. has worked really well with our feeder program. He took the initiative to take the elementary school kids and get them into an AAU atmosphere in Blair County and all over," Anders said. "I think we are going to be very competitive next year. I think he is going to inherit a good team. I am looking forward to seeing what he will bring."