Former Oak Hill head coach and Hall of Famer Norm Persin is coming out of his brief retirement to return to the sideline as the head basketball coach at Lucasville Valley High School for the 2020-2021 season.

Persin, who announced his retirement from Oak Hill back in January, confirmed his hiring at Valley in a recent interview with The Telegram.

“I was dead set on retirement,” Persin said. “I just wanted to be able to do the things I haven’t been able to do because of my agenda (as a teacher, athletic director, and coach). “After teaching and serving as the athletic director all of those years, I just felt it was time.

“Then, Valley approached me, and I had no interest in taking the job. In fact, I didn’t even know it was open. They were persistent and offered me just a coaching position. I don’t have to teach, and I don’t have to be the athletic director, I can do all the things I want to do with my free time.”

As it turns out, all his basketball players, except for two, play football or soccer in the fall, which will allow him to do what he wants until basketball practice officially begins.

“It is almost a free ride for me there. I can do what I want to do now, like catch some college football games (at Notre Dame) in the fall,” Persin said. “I have a brother in North Carolina, and I have a sister in Florida. I can visit and spend time with them.

“All I have to do is coach.”

Persin has had a lot of his current players at Oak Hill, as well as former players from both Oak Hill and Chesapeake, reach out to him, congratulating him on his new coaching job.

“Everybody I have talked to outside the area said I was making the right decision,” said Persin. “As soon as I accepted the job, I called one of my assistant coaches and explained it to him, and they told me I didn’t have to explain anything.

“They told me they were happy for me, and they hoped whatever I do, works out.”

Due to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, meeting with his new team is still a question mark.

“You are hearing all this stuff that is coming out that there is a possibility they are going to open the facilities in June, just a little bit,” said Persin. “In other words, you may go to open gyms, open weightlifting, and even open up for the football team, allowing four players at a time.

“In the middle of June, it supposed double. There’s no open gyms or scrimmages allowed. Then in July, it is all free. We just don’t know at this point where this is going, which is a question mark to me, so who knows. Who even knows if there will be a season?”

It has not been the best off-season for Persin, who is currently sitting at home waiting for surgery to repair a torn meniscus (knee).

Persin, with 766 wins to his name in a storied 46-year career, led Oak Hill to a state championship in Division IV back in 2009.

He also led the Oaks to four outright SOC Division II championships in 2009, 2010, 2017, and 2018.

Under Coach Persin, Oak Hill made it to the district championship in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2013, 2017, and 2018, including five trips to the regional tournament with two runner-up finishes in addition to the state title in 2009.

“When I arrived here from Chesapeake, we weren’t very good, and then things fell into place. We got a couple of transfers from Jackson, and as soon as we won the state tournament in 2009, I really thought I was done,” said Persin. “Then I decided, I would just take it one year at a time, and I just kept enjoying it.

“I just really enjoy coaching.”

Persin spent his first six years in coaching at Oak Hill, before leaving to coach at Wilmington High School for three seasons.

He ultimately ended up a Chesapeake, where he would spend the next 21 years, before returning to Oak Hill in 2006.

“After 21 years, I got a little tired of making the trip down S.R. 93 to Chesapeake, and Jimmy Slone and Michael Hale called. Their kids were coming up in the program and wanted me to return to coach at Oak Hill,” said Persin. “It made an easy drive for me, but at that time, I had no interest. I loved Chesapeake.

“But the more I thought about it, it just made more sense, and I knew it would make it easier for me.”

Persin has been inducted into six Hall of Fames, including two Ohio Basketball Hall of Fames, as well as the Ohio High School Basketball Coaches Association in 2015, and the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016.

He is also in the Ohio Athletic Directors Hall of Fame to go along with being inducted into the Warren Harding High School of Fame, the Chesapeake Hall of Fame, and the Warren Ohio Distinguished Hall of Fame.

As he goes from retirement to non-retirement, Coach Persin said it would be a strange feeling going into Oak Hill next season, where he has coached the last 14 years.

Heath McKinniss, who has been an assistant on Person’s staff for the past seven years, and is the former boys and girls’ head coach at Jackson, is expected to be named his successor at Oak Hill.