As a senior point guard in 1992-93, Feldman

By Tom Hardesty Record-Courier staff writer Published:

As a senior point guard in 1992-93, Feldman and a deep, talented cast of Bulldogs posted a 19-1 regular-season record and advanced to the Division I state semifinals before losing in a shocking upset to Cincinnati Elder.

Along the way, Stow scored over 100 points seven times and over 90 or more points another six times.

Included in the decimation were victories by 108-43 and 95-30 over Ravenna.

"We saw Ravenna as kind of a night off," admitted Feldman.

He made that statement with no hint whatsoever of cockiness or arrogance. Rather, Feldman said it almost apologetically, as if the words pained him as they rolled off his tongue.

Nights off against Ravenna, he hopes, will not be the case any longer.

Feldman, hired last week as Ravenna's next boys basketball coach, steps into a situation with all the stability of quicksand _ and certainly doesn't want opponents taking a look at his Ravens and saying, 'Look fellas, a night off.'

"We're going to change that," said Feldman, younger brother of Ravenna football coach Cyle Feldman. "People better pack a lunch when they play us. I want our kids to learn to compete and give it their all every time they step between the lines."

Feldman replaces Mike Cook, who left after one season following last year's 5-16 showing.

For Feldman, who played football and basketball at Ohio University, this job represents his first as a head coach. But although he's only 24 and a novice in the profession, he feels his experience at successful programs like Stow and Ohio U. have prepared him for a rapid rise in the coaching ranks. As a point guard and quarterback - both leadership positions - aggressiveness, intensity and desire were Feldman's trademarks.

"I thought I'd have to be an assistant for two or three years," he said, "but I'm glad I got this job and I'm really looking forward to it. I'm definitely not going to use my age as an excuse.

"I'll be the kind of guy who'll stand almost the entire game and do some barking. I'll be a little intense on the sidelines, a little enthusiastic."

Ravenna athletic director Steve Reedy is confident Feldman can turn the basketball team's fortunes around - much like his older brother has done on the gridiron.

"We're very, very happy to have somebody of Chet's background," said Reedy. "He played over at Stow and took them to the state final four his senior year, and he played football and basketball at Ohio U. I think that's what we need, somebody who has played at the Division I level and has had success there.

"I feel we're very lucky to have Chet. He comes from a quality family and he's a quality person. He's real competitive; he has the will to win."

Feldman's first task: instilling that will to win into his players.

"I just believe they've had the reputation that they're bad, and they start to believe that," he said. "I'm going to try to get them to believe that they're not bad. Hopefully, with the type of coach I am and the type of player I was, I can instill some confidence in these guys.

"We've got to get some discipline in these guys, make them believe they can win in this conference (Western Reserve Conference South Division). This conference is no joke - there are a lot of good teams in it. We have to get these kids to believe they can do it, and that's not easy to do."

In the past several years, Ravenna boys basketball has been synonymous with instability. It's a program where coach and players hardly get acquainted with one another before they part ways - permanently.

Success? Put it this way: two years ago, Mark Kinsley led the Ravens to an 11-11 record. It was an effort that John Wooden would have been proud of - and Kinsley knew it, because following that season, his third at Ravenna, he left to take the head coaching job at Green.

In fact, it's been 10 years since the Ravens finished with a winning record: a 13-8 campaign in 1988-89.

Nor has it been easy for coaches to convince the school's best athletes to come out for basketball, further eroding the program's foundation.

Feldman knows all this. And he knows he really is starting from the ground up.

"Really, a coach hasn't come in here and stayed for more than a year or two," he said. "There's no way you can get a program going like that. Maybe we won't see results 'til two, three years down the road. It could be a long process - I'd like it to be a short one.

"This is a project more than an assignment."

But don't call this project Mission: Impossible. Three years ago, Cyle Feldman took over a sagging Ravenna football program amidst cries of, "This program can't be turned around," "You don't have the facilities and support structure to win here," and "You're killing your coaching career by taking this job."

Last season - Cyle Feldman's third - the Ravens won a share of the WRC South championship.

So much for can't, won't and don't.

And don't think Chet hasn't noticed what his older brother has accomplished.

"I'm in a pretty good situation because I'll have my brother Cyle there to guide me, especially as a young coach," said Chet, who will assist his brother as a defensive backfield coach this fall. "He's just kind of showing me around right now. He said it's going to be difficult, there are going to be critics out there who want to see you fail. That's the hardest thing to face as a young coach. I just have to stay positive."

Feldman is well aware of how difficult a project this may actually be. But he certainly isn't used to losing, and doesn't plan on getting used to it as head coach at Ravenna.

"I'm going to come in here and set some pretty high standards," he said. "I'm not going to drop standards, I'll tell you that."

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