After all, Klapp is a 1980 graduate of

By Tom Hardesty Record-Courier staff writer Published:

After all, Klapp is a 1980 graduate of Woodridge High School, was a three-year starter on the Bulldogs' basketball team, was an assistant coach under former Woodridge mentor Kevin Hearty, and even coached the Bulldogs' eighth-grade squad for a couple years.

And now, after spending the past two seasons as the junior varsity coach at neighboring Cuyahoga Falls, Klapp returns to his alma mater as the man in charge of the Bulldogs' basketball fortunes.

"I can't tell you how awesome it is to come back and coach at the school you went to," said Klapp, who replaces Hearty, who coached the Bulldogs for eight years before resigning after last season.

"This first year might be kind of a tough year, I think. It's probably going to take a year for me to get to know the kids and the kids to get to know me. And they'll be learning a new system, so it could be a rough year that way, so to speak."

Klapp certainly isn't used to rough years. In his three seasons as an assistant under Hearty, the Bulldogs were the Portage County League runner-up twice, in 1994-95 and '95-96. He also coached the Woodridge eighth-grade team to a PCL second-place finish seven seasons ago.

"I've never coached a losing team," he said, "and I hope we don't start now."

Woodridge athletic director George Hammond is pleased to have Klapp on board.

"I think he's going to bring stability, consistency and those kind of things to the program," said Hammond. "He knows the game, he's a hard worker and a quality individual. I was really disappointed when he left the program three years ago, and now I'm really glad to have him back."

Said Hammond of Hearty: "Kevin was just a really hard worker. He had a very strong work ethic and had a tremendous love for basketball."

Klapp inherits a team that is coming off a disappointing four-win campaign, so he's somewhat unsure of what to expect this winter.

"I'm really not sure what we're going to have since I got the job so late," he said. "I like to gear my offense and defense toward the talent I have, so it's hard to predetermine what style we'll play this season.

"If I had my choice, I'd try to play an up-tempo, running and pressing game. You can play more kids that way, it's fun to play and it's more enjoyable for the fans to watch. But we'll just adjust to the personnel we have and go from there."

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