Following the departure of head boys basketball coach Scott Raper, assistant coach Kevin Ritter saw an opportunity to elevate his career and become a head coach for the first time in his 15-year career.
Ritter had been at Yukon for four years as an assistant under Raper and when Raper bolted for Bishop McGuinness several weeks ago, he pursued the opening knowing that many other applicants with head coaching experience would be after the position as well.
All Ritter wanted was a chance to sell himself and his vision for a boys basketball program to Yukon athletic director Mike Clark, Superintendent Dr. Jason Simeroth and head high school principal Melissa Barlow. He received that opportunity and on Monday morning at a special school board meeting, Ritter was approved and officially hired as the new head boys basketball coach at Yukon Public Schools.
“This is an exciting and tremendous opportunity for my family and I,” Ritter said. “I just want to thank Mr. Clark, Dr. Simeroth and Mrs. Barlow for believing in me and giving me this opportunity.”
Before coming to Yukon, Ritter spent the previous 10 school years at Union High School as a coach and teacher. In his first three years at Union, Ritter was the freshmen coach but then he got the opportunity to move to the varsity level in his final seven years in Tulsa. On top of being an assistant varsity basketball coach, Ritter was a junior high track coach and he helped out with the high-jumpers and long-jumpers on the varsity track team.
In his time at Union, the Redskins won two state championships in boys basketball and five state championships in boys track.
Before he coached at Union, Ritter did his student teaching and he also was an assistant boys basketball coach at Owasso High School for a year.
Ritter played college basketball at Southwestern Oklahoma State University and he received his bachelor’s degree from SWOSU in mathematics education and then he received his master’s degree from Southern Nazarene University in educational leadership.
He played his first two years of college basketball at Carl Albert State College in Poteau before transferring to SWOSU.
“I believe as a coach at the high school level, your style of play is determined by what type of players you have on your roster,” Ritter said. “What we want to have in our program, are kids who believe in themselves and who will work hard.”
On top of being an assistant boys basketball coach at Yukon for the past four years, Ritter has been an assistant coach for the boys track team. His responsibility in track is to coach the high-jumpers and long-jumpers. Ritter was instrumental in Yukon track star Vernon Turner becoming the best high-jumper in the nation.
Ritter played three years of varsity basketball at Union High School and graduated in 1998. He is married to his wife Danielle and they have two sons, Beckham (six) and Channing (four).
This is Ritter’s first head coaching position.