New Madison Southern Lady Eagles Josh Curtis oversees Tara Wooten during a ladder drill at Farristown Middle School. Curtis came to Madison Southern from McNabb Middle School in Montgomery County where he compiled a 93-7 record over four years. (Mike Moore Photo)

By Mike Moore

For The Citizen

Josh Curtis’ passion for basketball radiates from every fiber of his being. Since being named Madison Southern girls’ basketball coach in early June, Curtis has hit the ground running.

“I had a chance to meet (the team) (June 17) on a Zoom meeting, and we’ve had four workouts, plus the S.O.A.R. workouts,’ Curtis said. “I wanted them to know that I’m here, this is what we’re doing, and I’m here for them 24/7. I’m here to serve them.”

Curtis comes to Madison Southern from Montgomery County, where he served as an assistant coach for the Lady Indians for seven seasons and head coach at McNabb Middle School for four seasons. During his tenure as a middle school coach, McNabb compiled a 93-7 record, while winning two Bluegrass Conference tournament championships and three regular-season titles.

Madison Southern athletics director Jay Simmons said it was clear who the choice would be during the interview process.

“He came highly recommended from Montgomery County, and did a great job in his interview,” Simmons said. “He had a great track record with his teams the past several years. We feel like he will lead our program to the next level.”

Curtis takes over a team that finished 16-15 last season but returns a treasure trove of players from that team. The personnel returning should fit Curtis’ style of play, the coach said.

“My style has always been to play as fast as you can,” Curtis said. “You’ll see us pressing, getting up and down the floor for easy layups and steals. If we don’t have to run many plays, that is fine with me. I know when we play some of the higher-level teams, we’ll have to be able to execute in the half-court, but I like to implement a faced-paced game.”

The returning players plus system bodes well for a successful upcoming season, Curtis continued.

“The 44th District and 11th Region are very challenging,” he said. “I’m a big believer in playing a difficult schedule because it prepares you for the end of the season. We have kids who are mentally tough and have been through the battles before, and it’s going to help us in the long run.”

During the interview process, Curtis pointed out Madison Southern’s existing infrastructure as a gold mine for any coach.

“The facilities are top-notch, and the resources and talent are great,” he said. “There’s talent at the top with the senior class, but there is talent through middle school and below. The feeder system that has been developed here is special. There are so many positives.”

As the summer continues, Curtis is working as much as he can with the players, while adding to his coaching staff, which will feature a familiar face in returning assistant Taylor Johnson.

“(Johnson) has a great relationship with the girls, and she’s worked very hard just in the time that I’ve been with here,” Curtis said. “I am looking to hire two or three more, but I am in no rush. I want to make sure we get the right people in place.”

The first-year Lady Eagles’ coach is looking forward to accomplishing a lot. Still, he acknowledges things are a bit unusual because of COVID-19 and the importance of keeping players and coaches safe.

“The biggest challenge has been the world we’re living in right now, in terms of the restrictions and guidelines we have to follow,” he said. “There is a lot we cannot do yet. We’re in a practice setting where everyone has their own basketball, and they’re at their own goal, so we’re very limited in what we can do.”

Curtis played high school basketball at Harrison County and earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Kentucky in 2012. He received his master’s degree in education and teacher leadership from the University of the Cumberlands in 2015.

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