Pending board approval, Joe Leonard is expected to be named the head coach of the Tallmadge High School girls basketball team, according to https://tallmadgeathletics.org.
Leonard replaces Brett Bickar, who resigned after the 2019-20 season to spend more time with his family. Bickar had been an assistant coach with the team for six years prior to becoming the head coach in 2019.
Bickar led the Blue Devils to a 15-10 overall record during the winter. Tallmadge also advanced to Division II district play.
Bickar’s daughter, Lizzie, was a senior point guard who scored more than 1,000 career points for the Blue Devils. The younger Bickar, who won a Division I sectional golf title for Tallmadge during the fall, recently signed to continue her academic and golfing careers at Indiana State University.
"It just takes too much time if you want to do it the right way," Bickar said. "I wouldn’t be doing the summer stuff that I need to do and it wouldn’t be fair to the girls.
"Lizzie’s matches are going to be six hours away. I’m going to be out there for matches in the fall and the spring. That’s going to keep me busy."
Bickar said he informed Tallmadge athletic director Tim Mosher about his decision to resign two days after the Blue Devils’ final game of the season.
"Brett is a phenomenal man," Mosher said. "I wish he was sticking around. I wish Brett nothing but the best. He wants to watch Lizzie play and that’s hard to do in the summer and the fall if you’re coaching.
"I’m happy with the guy we got, though. Joe’s knowledge of the game is really good and he’s a constant learner. He is constantly trying to develop. He’s really good at building relationships."
Bickar left Tallmadge with a heavy heart. When he first joined the team as an assistant during the 2013-14 season, the Blue Devils reached Division II regional play for the first time since 1999.
"They are a great group of girls," Bickar said. "There were no issues during the year. We definitely achieved our expectations. I had a great time."
Leonard is a graduate of Holy Name High School in Parma Heights and the University of Toledo. He was the junior varsity head boys basketball coach at Strongsville High School during the winter.
Leonard also spent three years at Holy Name and five years at Padua Franciscan High School in Parma.
"We are excited for Coach Leonard to get started and look forward to the relationship-building, knowledge and relentless energy that he will bring to the girls basketball program," Mosher said.
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, email@example.com or @FrankAceto_Gannett.