Chris Gaither ’07 has his dream job now as the head basketball coach at the still new Martha Layne Collins High School in Shelby County – and the Georgetown College connections are many.
He actually did meet the former Kentucky governor (for whom the school is named) a couple of times after transferring to Georgetown in ’03 and last year at some Collins High football games. Gov. Collins is a GC Executive Scholar-in-Residence.
Reached Friday afternoon, Gaither told the GC News Bureau that former Tiger star Brian Silverhorn ’07 (mentioned in the story below) and he became best friends and Christians at Georgetown, both getting involved in Campus Outreach.
And, he said he was drawn back to the Special Ed program at Georgetown College because of his great undergraduate experience here. “Happy (Osborne) giving me a scholarship and allowing me to play basketball for him for three years influenced my decision to return,” said Gaither, who got his Masters in 2010 and now teaches special education. “That’s a great graduate program…I really enjoyed it!”
Coach Osborne said, “Chris Gaither is one of the finest young men I’ve ever had the privilege to coach. If you are a parent, he’s the kind of person you’d want your son to have as coach. He’s also got a tremendous knowledge of the game.”
Here’s the Shelbyville newspaper’s wonderful story about Chris’s hiring:
New Collins coach: ‘I want to retire here’ – Assistant Chris Gaither promoted to succeed Turley
Sentinel-News (Shelbyville, KY) – Friday, June 17, 2011
Author: Josh Cook
Shelbyville has become like a second home for Chris Gaither.
Now Gaither hopes to call it home for a long time.
Gaither, 27, has been hired as the second boys’ basketball coach at Collins High School after two years as an assistant coach at Shelby County and one with the Titans.
“One thing I always wanted to be was a Titan,” Gaither said. “I wanted to start my coaching career here and I hope to end it here. I want to retire from Martha Layne Collins High School.”
Gaither will likely be one of the youngest head coaches in the state next season, but it will be hard to find anyone so young with his pedigree. He has played for, and worked for, some of the most successful coaches in the college and high school ranks.
A native of Leitchfield, he starred at Grayson County, where he helped the Cougars to the Sweet Sixteen as a junior (in 2001) and earning all-state honors.
From there he attended Temple University, playing for Naismith Hall of Fame member John Chaney (who has over 740 victories to his credit), for one year. Then he transferred to Georgetown College , where he finished his career playing for Happy Osborne (the fastest coach at any level to win 100 and 400 games) and teamed up with former Shelby County standout Brian Silverhorn (GC ’07) (who helped out at Collins’ camp this week).
After graduating from Georgetown in 2007, Gaither came to Shelby County. He assisted Mike Clark for two years with the Rockets before moving over to Collins and becoming the right-hand man for recently resigned Coach Curtis Turley (who has won more than 600 games), who left to become the Director of Basketball Operations for the women’s basketball team at Western Kentucky University, in the Titans’ first season.
“I’ve played under some great coaches, and I’ve been an assistant under some great coaches,” said Gaither, who has two sons, Caden (2 1/2) and Charlie (1) with wife Katie, who is from Louisville. “I thank my former head coaches. I learned a lot of things from them, and they’ve been extremely supportive.
“I think the experience has been tremendous. I’ve definitely been able to take something from each one I’ve been under, and that’s allowed me to create my own philosophies about basketball.”
So what will Gaither’s philosophies be for the Titans, who were 18-12 last season?
“You can expect an up-tempo style of play,” he said. “We’ll press teams and use our length and quickness to our advantage. We’ll let our defense lead us into our transition offense….Then, if we can’t get anything out of our transition offense, we’ll work out of set plays in our motion offense.”
So far so good. In one of the Titans’ summer games earlier this week, they beat reigning 8th Region champ Oldham County, something that could heighten hopes for next season. But they won’t be any higher than those that Gaither will have for his team.
“We’re going to set big expectations for our program. They are going to be big year in and year out,” said Gaither, who’ll turn 28 on Jan. 12. “We’re going to expect to win our district and our region. But we’re also going to set expectations every day in practice and work toward our long-term goals, so we’ll have short-term goals every day in practice.”
Meanwhile Gaither’s goal has been to become a head coach at Collins.
“It was the only job I wanted,” he said. “The community here has really accepted me and has been very supportive. I only wanted one head-coaching job. I want to start here and finish here. It was the only job I wanted.”