Ryan New and Lisa Blalock faced off in each of the last three girls basketball editions of the Central-Southside rivalry. As that rivalry comes to a close, New is endorsing Blalock to coach the team at the consolidated school that Central and Southside will become in the fall.
New, who coached at Southside the last four seasons, said he interviewed for the consolidated position but later decided to withdraw from the process. He is leaving the education field, taking steps to become an insurance agent. He is not ruling out an eventual return to coaching but has nothing immediate planned.
Central will announce its head coaches for all of its winter sports at a school board work session tonight. The marquee hire will be the boys basketball coach of the Bearcats. Matt Fine, who coached Central for the last 10 seasons, announced on April 14 he had withdrawn from consideration for that position.
Central athletic director Suzanne Crump last week told The Star Press that she estimated six candidates for the boys basketball job were interviewed.
New had a 1-2 record in his meetings with Blalock. His Rebels edged the Bearcats in overtime in the 2011-12 meeting, Southside’s first-ever girls basketball win against Central. Blalock’s teams then won each game in the last two seasons. His interactions with Blalock have led him to believe she is the right candidate to lead the program into the future.
“She’s very upbeat and energetic and positive,” New said. “Not only that, but she definitely knows her basketball as well. She was interim head coach at Ball State for part of a season and was a leading candidate when Kelly Packard got the job at Ball State. But I think that she’s a great people person, she’s a great leader and just a great person in general.”
New went 20-60 in four seasons leading the Rebels. He was involved with the program for five years, serving as an assistant coach the previous season. He also served a two-year tenure as the head coach at Wapahani.
“I really fell in love with the place,” New said of his tenure at Southside. “I really appreciated the kids that we had at Southside, the athletes. And beginning last year, I took a job teaching at Muncie Southside. … I’ve fallen in love with the school there, and the students are excellent, the faculty and administration, it’s all been a very perfect fit. Something that I’ll look back at with very positive memories.”