After 11 seasons as an assistant basketball coach in the Louisville area, James Schooler was wondering if he’d ever get a shot as a head coach.
So when Fern Creek High School named him boys’ basketball coach on Tuesday, Schooler said he was “the happiest man on the face of the earth.”
“I’ve always kind of been the second guy for the job,” Schooler said. “But Fern Creek believed in what I’ve done the last couple of years. I owe them a lot.”
Schooler replaces Dion Layfield, who stepped down after posting a 69-99 record in six seasons. The Tigers finished 6-26 last season.
Schooler is a 1997 graduate of Jeffersontown High School, where he played basketball and football. After attending Murray State, Schooler worked as a personal banker while attending a basketball camp at Collegiate.
“I quit my job and started coaching,” Schooler said. “I haven’t looked back since.”
Schooler, 34, spent four years as an assistant at Collegiate, five at North Oldham and the past two at Ballard.
He said working under Ballard coach Chris Renner was a key to landing his first job as a head coach. The Bruins reached the Sweet 16 championship game last season, falling to Madison Central.
“If it weren’t for me going to Ballard and being on that stage with Coach Renner and all the things he showed me about playing at a high level, none of this would have ever been in the mix,” Schooler said.
Schooler said he’d like to have an up-tempo style of play at Fern Creek, but will focus on defense.
“Fern Creek obviously is a great job because it’s a community school,” he said. “I know if we put a good brand of basketball on the court that the entire community will get behind us.”