Photo by G. Michael Graham. Highlands Head Basketball Coach Mike Flynn (center) goes over strategy in a game at Cooper this past season. Flynn resigned Monday after leading the Bluebirds to a 50-61 record in four seasons at the helm.
By G. MICHAEL GRAHAM
Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter
The Highlands Bluebirds boys basketball team will have a new leader next winter.
Veteran Head Coach Mike Flynn turned in his letter of resignation Monday. The Bluebirds finished 50-61 in his four-year tenure and made the 9th Region Tournament twice in that time in 2011 and 2012. Highlands lost to Lloyd Memorial in the first round in 2012 and to Dixie Heights in 2011.
Highlands finished 12-16 this past season losing 48-37 to Newport Central Catholic in the 36th District Semifinals at home. The Bluebirds entered the postseason playing some of their best basketball despite struggling to shoot the ball the entire season. They finished the regular-season with a three-game winning streak. Highlands made 478-of-1,283 shots from the field for 37 percent, including 100-of-345 from three-point range for 29 percent.
“My lofty admiration for Highlands High School has only been enhanced over the past four seasons,” Flynn said in a statement. “Though we did not win as many games as I would have liked, our players and staff worked a winning process every day. My pursuits now will focus toward a coaching role with less responsibility. I am looking forward to becoming an assistant coach and helping another program in some capacity.”
Flynn had been a head coach for 26 seasons in the Bluegrass State. He’d also coached at nearby Covington Holmes during the late 1980s until 1996 when he left to coach at Ashland Paul Blazer. The Bulldogs finished state runner-up in 1990 to Louisville Fairdale, 77-73.
“I have nothing but admiration for Coach Flynn,” said Brian Robinson, Highlands High School Principal. “He is a great man and wonderful role model. He’s at a time in his life where he’d like to look at other opportunities.”
One of Flynn’s former players at Holmes is Cooper Head Coach Tim Sullivan. Sullivan led the Jaguars to another 33rd District title last year and second straight appearance in the 9th Region semifinals.
Flynn was the longest-tenured coach in Ashland history at nine years. He also coached a couple seasons at Bourbon County and owns a career record of 467-252.
“It will be different,” said Parker Harris, Highlands rising junior. “We’re definitely going to miss Coach Flynn. We all liked him. He was a positive influence in our lives.”
Robinson said a timetable has not been set in hiring the new head coach. Potential leading candidates for the job are current Highlands assistant Steve Hunt and Bishop Brossart Lady Mustangs head coach Josh Feldmann. Feldmann served as Junior Varsity Head Coach at Highlands from 2004 to 2010 before spending the last three years at Bishop Brossart. Feldmann teaches at Johnson Elementary School in Fort Thomas.
The new head coach will have some talent to work with starting with Harris and rising seniors Drew Houliston and Nick True. Drew Houliston averaged 11.3 points per game last year and Nick True averaged 6.7 points and a team-high six rebounds.
Highlands graduates four seniors in Luke Turner, Jake Gronotte, Karl Hinkel and Bailey Witte. Turner averaged 11.3 points a contest.