Detling has coached at Central since 2012, including the current sophomore class for the past three seasons, guiding them to an OHC runner-up finish as eighth graders. The Irish graduated seven seniors, meaning the varsity squad will have a new look this winter. Many of last year’s freshmen played junior varsity last season.
“It’s a strong group of underclassmen,” Detling said.
Sarensen went 60-18 in three seasons, winning back-to-back Ohio Heritage Conference South Division and Division IV district championships.
In 2017-2018, the Irish went 23-4, advancing to the regional semifinals where they lost to eventual state champion Marion Local. The Irish went 22-4 last season, again falling in the regional semifinals to a Midwest Athletic Conference team, St. Henry. The back-to-back district finals appearances hadn’t happened at Central in 22 years.
The experience should fuel the program over the next few seasons.
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“They know what it takes and what they can accomplish,” Detling said.
Detling understands the Irish tradition, watching the likes of Maurice Houston and Richie Griffin as a young child, he said. He also watched as Jason Collier and the Irish won the D-IV state championship in 1996.
He plans to teach his players about the tradition, similar to what Sarensen did during his tenure.
The Irish will run a similar system with a few twists, Detling said.
“I’ll definitely put my stamp on things,” Detling said.
Catholic Central will continue to emphasize defense as it did during Sarensen’s tenure, he said.
“That will definitely stay the same,” Detling said. “Defense wins championships and (Coach Sarensen) proved that.”
Since the hiring was announced, the community has been extremely supportive, Detling said.
“I’m just over the top excited,” he said. “I can’t thank everyone enough for all the support. Everywhere I go I’m getting congratulations, e-mails, text messages. It’s just like one big family here. It’s a great feeling.”