VINCENT - Blane Maddox is on the the verge of achieving a coaching milestone.
The Warren boys' basketball coach is one win shy of career 200, and the 14-year boss could notch it when his undefeated Warriors (5-0) play Upper Arlington (4-3) at 4 p.m. Saturday at the Ohio River Classic at Marietta College's Ban Johnson Arena.
"It's nice and I've been very fortunate," Maddox said. "I've coached a lot of good players, and there's a lot of good memories."
Warren High School boys basketball coach Blane Maddox is one win away from 200 for his career. The Warriors’ next game is Saturday against Upper Arlington in the Ohio River Classic at Marietta College’s Fenton Court. Game time is set for 4 p.m.
Maddox was actually hoping to get No. 200 last Friday night when the Warriors were scheduled to play at home against Logan in a Southeastern Ohio Athletic League game. But the contest was postponed due to the inclement, wintery weather.
The Warren-Logan game has been rescheduled for Jan. 2, Maddox said.
Perhaps ironically, Maddox is a Logan graduate. He and his wife, Sally, were in Chieftain boys' basketball coach John Helber's wedding.
They are good friends, and Helber wishes Maddox nothing but the best -well, maybe except for when his Chieftains play Warren.
Maddox has guided the Warriors to three SEOAL boys basketball titles while at Warren and has his royal blue and white cagers in the Ohio Division II district tournament at the Ohio University Convocation Center in Athens on an annual basis.
"We have spent many hours talking basketball," Helber said. "We used to have some very competitive basketball games at Blane's house.
"On a real rim," he added, "not a video game!"
Mark Duckworth, who has been Maddox's junior varsity coach for all 14 of those seasons, probably knows him better than anyone else - well, maybe with the exception of Blane's wife.
"I've been with Blane all of his 14 years at Warren and have been on the bench for all the wins except for one," Duckworth wrote in an email earlier this week. "Blane does so many things that the public doesn't see. (An) example: each week, the varsity and junior varsity (teams) go to the elementary school and read to the kids and spend time with them.
"I could coach basketball before I met Blane, but it was a different level," Duckworth continued. "Blane coaches the coaches as well as the players. The players all wear the same white socks, he demands haircuts and (for players to be) clean-shaven. He is constantly talking to the kids about grades and doing the right thing and helping others. This is very uncommon in today's world of high school athletics."
Sally's also a coach, having been in charge of the Warriors' track and cross country teams over the years. She's also a Logan alum.
"He has given me many duties and trusted me with all aspects of the basketball program," Duckworth wrote. "The most important thing that Blane and Sally do is they lead by example. I would not be the father I am today with the positive influence from Blane and Sally; I would not have finished my Master's degree, and I would not still be coaching if it wasn't for Blane.
"The days and the hours are long and the offseason work is never ending," he continued. "Everything comes to an end someday, but I know when we look back we will be able to say that we did it the right way. I am very proud of Blane and his family and the way he has operated the Warren basketball program."
It's a fine tribute to the most successful coach in the history of Warren boys' basketball. Maddox will no doubt get win No. 200 this season - whether it's against Upper Arlington or some other team.
Upper Arlington figures to be one of Warren's toughest opponents this winter. The Tim Casey-coached Golden Bears were tops in the Ohio Capital Conference-Central last season with a 12-2 record.
"They're well-coached and are real good," Maddox said. "They have two of the best guards we'll probably see this season. It should be a good game."
Overall, in 2011-2012, UA was 16-6 and claimed its third straight OCC-Central Division title. The Golden Bears were the No. 7 seed in the Division I district tournament and defeated Briggs 55-42 in the opening round before falling to 12th-seeded Mount Vernon 53-42 in the second round.
UA graduated five key players from that team, and has only one senior - 6-foot-3 Austin Ping - and two returning starters - junior guards Danny Hummer (6-0) and Kevin Vannatta (6-3) - on its current roster.
Ping, Hummer, and Vannatta are the team captains.
Also on the roster are juniors Logan Richter (6-5, forward), Corbin Dennis (6-1, forward), Harrison Heath (6-2, guard) and Matt Skidmore (6-4, forward), sophomores Griffin Caldwell (6-0, sophomore), Gabe Akins (6-1, guard), Chris Allocco (5-9, guard), Carter Casey (5-7, guard), Spencer Pinnick (5-10, guard), Austin Heath (5-10, guard), Michael McGovern (6-3, forward) and Wynn Brown (6-0, forward) and Polish exchange student Oscar Malinowski (6-8, forward).
Warren has not played since beating visitng Chesapeake 62-40 on Dec. 15. Evan French led the way with 23 points, and Michael Hall and Reece Patton each chipped in with 11 markers. Other Warriors to keep an eye on will be Evan Yabs, Adam Lang, Dylan Leffingwell, Danny Pannell, Aaron Mazurkiewicz, and Matt Drayer.
"It's been a good run so far," Maddox said. "We've had lots of days off since our last game, so the kids are eager to play."