Legendary Scioto County coaching icon Jack Branon was named as WSAZ's HomeTown Hero Friday evening in a nomination done by one of his former players at nearby Green High School, Rick Williams.
In addition to his time playing baseball at Clay, Branon served as Justus' manager from a basketball perspective while still in high school. Then, after rewarding careers in baseball and cross country led to NAIA All-District honors in the former sport and a MVP team trophy in the latter, the experience garnered by Branon under Justice led to his initial foray in coaching, when Justus put Branon on his staff to start his career in 1967.
During his time at Clay, Branon helped Justice go on an historic run as an assistant coach, leading the Panthers to a 80-9 overall mark. The 1969 Clay unit, which went 26-2 overall and went to the OHSAA Final Four, is still, to this day, the best unit in school history.
After obtaining an opportunity to coach baseball and basketball at Green, Branon also put together a run of postseason success never before seen inside the Wheelersburg baseball program, making the school a powerhouse in the sport in the process by racking up 12 sectional championships, six district titles, and Division III Coach of the Year honors in 1996, 1997, and 1999. The Pirates ultimately won the school's first-ever championship in the sport of baseball, doing so in 1996 as the pinnacle season in a Ohio High School Baseball Coaches Association (OHSBCA) Hall of Fame career for Branon, all while sending more than 30 players off to college baseball scholarships during his span as the head coach of the program.
While racking up honors inside the baseball realm, Branon continued to make impacts across other Wheelersburg programs. As the head coach of the cross country program at Wheelersburg, 16 runners qualified for the OHSAA State Championships in his 20 seasons at the helm, and as an assistant boys basketball coach with the Pirates, Wheelersburg made multiple trips to the OHSAA State Final Four during his time serving under Bob Eaton and Mike Lovenguth.
Along with his stops at Clay, Green, and Wheelersburg, Branon also coached inside the American Legion Post 23 program and at East before making his way to Shawnee State and Jeff Nickel's staff. In seven seasons on the women's basketball staff, Branon's teaching ability and his unmatched attitude toward life helped lead Nickel and the Bears to a 190-50 overall record and five Mid-South Conference Tournament Championships in those seven seasons.
For more on Branon, click on the video link below: