When Josh Hart took over the boys’ basketball program at Forsyth High School, the Panthers had 13 players participating in grades 9-12.
The program was coming off an 8-18 season.
Flash-forward five years, and Hart’s team reached the 20-victory mark this past season, a campaign when the program had 33 players out on the high school level.
That progress made Hart’s decision to leave an even tougher one.
“We’ve done a lot, and especially coming off a year where we had some success,” Hart said. “This year was the first year where it was just my kids.
“The kids this year were mine, and it was awesome.”
But the impact of his move on his family made the difference. Hart will be joining the Logan-Rogersville district, where he will be a P.E. teacher at the middle school and an assistant coach to John Schaefer for the school’s varsity team.
Hart has two sons, ages 3 and almost 9 months, and lives in Christian County. His wife works in Springfield.
“It took my commute from about a 42-minute drive to a 17-minute drive,” Hart said. “Got me closer to home. I have a good-looking future in Rogersville.
“It’s a good family-driven move.”
Hart said after exploring the position, applying and interviewing, he initially turned down the offer. Logan-Rogersville officials made another run at him, and he couldn’t say no again.
It’s all about family, and two sons who will eventually go to school in the Logan-Rogersville system, putting them on the same academic calendar – and with the same snow days – as their father.
“There’s so much time I lost with my little guys,” Hart said. “They don’t care about anything else, they just want to hang out with Daddy. My youngest, this morning, asked me when I was going to retire, because he just wants to hang out.
“This is the second-best thing, being closer to home and able to hang out more.”
Hart enjoyed immediate success after taking over at Forsyth, taking the team that went 8-18 the season before his arrival to 12-14 in his first season, then 17-9.
His five-season stint with the Panthers was capped by a 20-7 mark last season. His record at Forsyth was 78-54.
Hart will join a program that finished with a 24-6 record last season and reached the Class 4 state quarterfinals.
He’s not closing the door on working as a head coach at some time in the future.
“I’m not saying I’m done being a head coach in basketball by any means,” Hart said, “but I have no problem stepping back and following a guy who has been very successful in his career, and I’m very excited to be able to learn from him.”