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Kolkmeier, Murawski land top spots at CC, SC

The South Harrison Community School Corp. did something Thursday night that few other school boards in the state have had to do this summer, which was fill two of its top coaching positions.
New boys varsity head coaches were announced at Corydon Central and South Central, with both hires ending weeks of speculation and name-tossing.
Both men were hired from outside of the corporation.
At South Central, Robert Murawski Jr., who formally guided the Blackhawks of Springs Valley a couple of seasons ago, takes over for Greg Robinson, who coached the Rebels for 10 years.
Corydon Central’s new skipper is Jamie Kolkmeier, a 1996 graduate of Franklin College and 1992 alum of Waldron High School. He steps in for Randy Gianfagna, who departed for Floyd Central after a nine-year stint.
‘A school corporation looking for two major coaching positions is something that’s almost unheard of,’ Supt. Neyland Clark said. ‘The search committees accomplished a tremendous feat. Both coaches bring compatibility with the kids playing for them and I think they could walk into a gym, put the whistle on and have a bond with the kids and coaching staff.
‘We were lucky. We had a high number of applicants considering how late in the game it was. The amazing thing as I look back and look at our candidates, we have two outstanding candidates who are good for their respective programs and schools. We haven’t compromised anything.’
Small-school background helped Murawski
Murawski, 35, is a graduate of University of St. Francis and Vincennes University, and is an 1989 alum of Vincennes Rivet High School. He’s married and has a daughter who is seven months old.
As an athlete, Murawski played basketball for St. Francis from 1993 through 1995 (he was team captain in ’95).
Murawski’s coaching career on the hardwood began in 1997 when he was the freshman and a varsity assistant at South Bend St. Joseph. At the age of 27, he landed his first head coaching gig: From May of 1998 until June of 2003, he was the top man at his alma mater. From there, Murawski moved on to French Lick to guide the Blackhawks.
Most recently, he taught at Vincennes Community Schools.
Murawski’s overall coaching record is 67-91 (23-25 at Valley, 44-66 at Rivet).
South Central principal Jim Crisp joined Keith Marshall and David O’Connor on the school’s search committee. They sifted through the 15 applicants, came up with four finalists, and eventually went with Murawski. His small-school background was key in Murawski’s hiring, Crisp said.
‘From his interview and people we talked to at the school, we thought he would be a good fit at our school,’ Crisp added. ‘He seems to be someone who got in with the school and involved with the other sports.
‘Greg Robinson was a hard act to follow. He was a real people person and we felt like Mr. Murawski was someone who could come in after Greg and continue on with that.’
Murawski said it was an honor to follow Robinson and appreciated the opportunity given to him. He said the job ‘just fit.’
‘I really like the (Class) 1A level. I don’t think I want to move up to anything bigger. It’s just fun basketball,’ Murawski said. ‘ I’ve been all around the state, and South Central made me feel like I was really wanted. David O’Connor has done a really good job making me feel welcome in getting me established here.’
With the influences of such Southern Indiana coaches as Jack Butcher and Steve Brett (Loogootee) and Tom Bradley (Orleans), Murawski’s brand of basketball will be different defensively, but fairly similar on offense.
‘We’ll be primarily a man-to-man defensive team and on offense we’ll run some motion and try to be fundamentally sound,’ Murawski said. ‘There will probably be some changes made. I’m just going to try and build on the tradition at South.’
Murawski will teach physical education at South Central Elementary and South Central Junior High.
Kolkmeier learned from some of state’s best coaches
With six seasons under his belt, Kolkmeier ‘ who beat out 18 other applicants ‘ stepped down from the head coaching position at North Judson this season after guiding the Bluejays to a 13-8 record (and 59-70 overall).
Prior to his tenure at North Judson, Kolkmeier, who is 32 and unmarried, wore many coaching hats at Kokomo High School: He coached boys JV basketball, was a boys and girls varsity assistant, middle school co-ed coach, a JV golf coach and varsity assistant tennis coach (as a volunteer).
‘We hate to lose Coach Gianfagna. He was a tremendous coach and you have to be happy for him in moving on. But when I talked with Jamie, it was like deja vu. It was like interviewing (Gianfagna) nine years ago. We’re very, very happy with what we got,’ Clark said.
Clark said CCHS Principal Carolye Apple and Athletic Director Michael Uhl, along with Denise Harmon and Diane Shewmaker, winnowed through the candidates until there were two.
Clark and Michael McGraw, president of the corporation’s school board of trustees, conducted the interviews, with Kolkmeier coming out on top.
‘I was impressed when I got down there,’ Kolkmeier said. ‘I really didn’t know much about Corydon at all outside of the former coach’s successful nine-year run. I knew he’d done a great job down there, but that’s about it,’ Kolkmeier said. ‘It seems like a really nice community from what I’ve seen.’
Kolkmeier played high school hoops and NCAA DIII ball at Franklin College.
At Kokomo, Kolkmeier received valuable guidance from two legends of Indiana high school basketball: girls coach Charlie Hall (172-22 in eight seasons) and former skipper Basil Mawbey (626-232 in 36 years), who is now heading the program at Lewis Cass.
‘I learned a lot from Kendall Wildey (high school coach), but I probably learned more from Mawbey than from any other person. He’s a wealth of knowledge. He taught me how to prepare and how to be prepared,’ Kolkmeier said. ‘I think that’s a big part of our preparation. We want to be as ready or more ready than the other team.’
Panther fans will be pleased to learn that Kolkmeier emphasizes high-percentage shots and playing solid defense by his teams.
‘We want to protect against good shots and make the other team shoot a low percentage,’ Kolkmeier said. ‘A lot of (North Judson’s) low scores came from a quality defense. We’re going to try to emphasize taking good shots and we’ll want to score in the paint. Defensively, we’ll mix it up. We’ll play man, some 2-3 zone and from time to time we’ll press.’
Coach sets meeting with new team
Coach Kolkmeier will have a meeting with boys basketball team members this Friday morning at 7:30 a.m. All players ‘ both current and prospective ‘ should attend this meeting.
‘We’ll basically cover introductions,’ Corydon’s new coach said. ‘We’re not going to change everything we do in two or three days. We just want to get some brief introductions out of the way so everyone is familiar with each other.’