The Kenston High School Athletic Department has announced the hiring of Derrick DeJarnette as its next varsity boys basketball head coach. The announcement was made by Athletic Director Reid Guarnieri following the approval of DeJarnette’s hire by the Kenston Board of Education at Monday’s monthly meeting (August 20).
DeJarnette succeeds outgoing coach Matt Vespa who accepted a position as men’s basketball assistant coach at local Lakeland Community College in June. Vespa served as head coach for three seasons guiding the Bombers to a 42-29 record. DeJarnette has spent the last two seasons on the Kenston bench as an assistant guiding the Bomber JV program to a 17-5 record in 2016-17 before assuming varsity assistant duties during the 2017-18 campaign.
Following an extensive search, Guarnieri and high school principal Tom Gabram recommended the hire of the 1994 Kenston alumnus to the Board of Education in August. Guarnieri said, “We received a high volume of impressive interest for the position but felt confident about who we had in the fold all along. Derrick is arguably the greatest player to don a Bomber uniform and received some overwhelming community support from outgoing and current student-athletes and families. While we were certainly drawn to his connection to the tradition of Kenston basketball, we are equally excited to see him put a new stamp on the program.”
DeJarnette has over 15 years of coaching experience at various levels ranging from youth travel basketball through the collegiate level. A four-year varsity starter for Kenston, he received many honors, some of which include the News Herald Co-Player of the Year and Honorable Mention All-Ohio. DeJarnette was also a McDonald’s All-America nominee and still holds the Kenston all-time records in career points scored (1,378) and career points per game average (18.1).
After high school, DeJarnette played at Lincoln College, a Division I junior college located in Lincoln, Ill. before transferring to Lakeland. An unfortunate knee injury just one month before his professional debut effectively ended his playing career. While one dream ended, a new one began as he accepted coaching positions at Myers College and Lakeland before settling in with Kenston in 2016.
DeJarnette’s coaching philosophy is clear, “Have the desire to win; always give 100%, work hard and never doubt yourself.” He is raring to take the reins of the Bomber program too, saying, “I have so much love for this game. I hope that I can share what I have learned in hopes of instilling passion and love for the game within our players. I thank Kenston for this opportunity and I am so honored to be home leading the Bombers.”
Kenston will open its 2018-19 regular season on November 30 facing Rhodes at the Great Lakes Classic hosted by Cleveland Heights High School.