Third time’s the charm

Eft promoted from assistant to lead Indian Creek girls basketball squad

WINTERSVILLE — After 10 seasons as an assistant coach, Steve Eft is making the move to the big seat.

Eft was recently named the new girls basketball coach at Indian Creek High School. He was also hired as a guidance counselor for the district’s middle school.

“I want to thank the Indian Creek school board, the administration and the athletic department for giving me this opportunity,” said Eft, a 2003 graduate of Edison High School. “I feel very blessed to be put into this position.

“I also want to thank the coaches that have allowed me to coach under them over the years. That experience has allowed me to get to this point. I am very appreciative of those opportunities.”

Eft, who did his undergraduate work at Youngstown State University and earned his master’s in school counseling through the University of the Southwest, joined Todd English’s staff at Edison in 2008. He also served with Nate Moses before assisting Joe Dunlevy at Indian Creek for a year.

He served on the Creek girls basketball staff the past two seasons.

Eft, the son of Rob and Susy Eft, inherits a squad that finished 17-6 a season ago. The Redskins earned a spot in the OVAC Class 5A final four and saw their season end with a loss to Philo in the Division II sectional finals. Four starters (Rachel Cooper was the lone senior on the Creek team for 2017-18) and several key bench players return.

“We definitely have a great group of girls that work hard and want to get better each and every day,” Eft said. “And that really is our No. 1 goal — to keep getting better every single day.

“We are coming off a very successful season and want to keep moving forward. We do have high expectations for this season.”

The 2018-19 Creek club will have six seniors. Several players earned postseason honors a season ago, including Ashley Yaich, Mackenzie Orban, Taylor Jones and Kylie Kiger.

“Honestly, I am just excited for the opportunity to coach these girls,” Eft said. “We have a great group, and our seniors have worked really hard to get there they are.

“I’m the third head coach the seniors will play for in their high school careers, so we are focused on sending them out the right way.”

Eft replaces Jackie Rossi, who resigned after two campaigns as the Creek bench boss.

Since taking the job, Eft has been busy with summer practices and putting together his staff. Ron Tweedy will serve as varsity assistant with Leeann Cline handling the eighth grade squad. Eft said he’s still finalizing the rest of his staff.

“We’ve had a really good summer,” the new Redskin boss said. “The girls have been working really hard. We’ve played in two shootouts and attended a camp, so it’s been active summer. I’m real happy with their performance to date.

“Defensively, not much is going to change. We’ll still pressure the ball, pick up full court and apply plenty of ball pressure. Offensively, we’re going to tweak a couple of things. A lot of it will be what the girls are familiar with. Our goal is to be more efficient offensively.”

Indian Creek athletic director Joe Dunlevy, also the school’s head boys basketball coach, called Eft’s selection a great hire.

“I coached against Steve when he was at Edison, and he coached with me for a year,” Dunlevy said. “He’s knowledgeable, passionate and works really hard. He fits in well with the many coaches we are fortunate to have at Indian Creek who are so dedicated to their programs.

“Further, I believe Steve will be a tremendous asset to our students through his work in the guidance department. We’re really happy to have him.”

Eft and his wife, Leah, have two children. Leah Eft is a guidance counselor at Edison and formerly served as the head volleyball coach for the Wildcats.