It’s difficult to find someone to replace a living legend like Todd Law.
It’s even harder to find a replacement during a global pandemic.
But after months of searching, the Oak Hill girls basketball program has a new face at the helm, as former Rossville Athletic Director Clay Bolser was approved by the Oak Hill United School Corporation this past Monday evening.
Before his three-year stint with the Hornets, Bolser spent 16 years coaching boys basketball at Northeastern, Plainfield, and North Miami, while also serving as the Athletic Director at North Miami for one year.
Bolser also has strong ties to Grant County. His oldest daughter, Cailyn, now plays volleyball at Ball State after playing her senior year at Mississinewa, while his second daughter, Caily, just graduated from Mississinewa and will play basketball at the University of Toledo. His third daughter, Carly, will be a junior this coming year, and has shown promise in both volleyball and basketball.
Furthermore, Bolser also has ties to Oak Hill. He coached against Oak Hill boys basketball coach Kevin Renbarger on multiple occasions during his coaching tenure and has developed a sturdy relationship with Oak Hill Athletic Director Ryan Fagan over the past few years.
While Bolser really enjoyed his work at Rossville, the desire for a return to coaching was always there. However, he did not want to make a change unless it was the right opportunity.
Two weeks ago, that opportunity presented itself in the form of a phone call.
Fagan reached out to Bolser, floating the idea of him coaching the Oak Hill girls basketball program as a joke, but Bolser quickly showed that he was serious about the chance to lead a top-tier, small school program.
After the interview process, Fagan knew that he had his guy.
“We were not real sure a month or so ago which direction we were going to head, and it ended up turning out better than what I could have really ever imagined,” Fagan said. “I am really excited. I am really excited for the girls, and I honestly don’t’ think we could have ended up in a better position. I’m ecstatic with who we got.”
The whole process took place in about 14 days, from original phone call to Monday night’s approval, but despite the quick turnaround, Bolser is ready and eager to get started.
“This was a unique situation, and something that was very positive for us,” Bolser said. “Having the conversation with my daughters about whether or not this was a good plan, they knew the desire was still in me. They grew up watching me coach, so they were very supportive of it.
“It was tough, because I have a lot of respect for the people at Rossville. I love the job. I love the community. The school itself, [and] our superintendent, is fantastic. This was not an off-the-cuff decision. This was something [where] there was a lot of thought [involved.] It had to be the right situation at the right time, and I think there was no doubt when I started really reflecting on it.”
Like the majority of schools in the state of Indiana, Oak Hill will begin their summer workout program on July 6, which will include at least two days of skill work per week as well as conditioning and weightlifting. Bolser hopes to meet with all his returning players via Zoom to both introduce himself and make his goals and expectations known.
And while there will be some differences, Bolser does not plan to make any drastic alterations.
“Obviously, there are going to be changes in communication and how we do things, but there are certain things you don’t just want to come in and change for [change’s sake,] and you certainly don’t want to disrupt something that has been as successful as Oak Hill girls basketball has been for the last 13-14 years.”
Bolser takes over a program that has developed into one of Indiana’s best over the last 16 years. Over a brilliant career, Law led the Golden Eagles to 305 wins, eight Grant Four championships, 11 CIC championships, seven sectional championships, five regional championships, four semi-state championships, and a Class 2A state title in 2019.
While it’s impossible to replace someone of that caliber, Bolser is ready to carry on the success and tradition that is Oak Hill girls basketball.
“I obviously knew about the success that had gone on. My daughters played against them when they were at North Miami and then again at Mississinewa,” Bolster said. “I can’t even really express the amount of respect I have for Coach Law and how he has been able to build the program, and I look forward to continuing that. Within the basketball program, we want to continue to have the highest of expectations and build on the tradition. We want to continue to build on that and make ourselves better. We are going to push and challenge the girls to be the best athlete they possibly can be, [as well as] the best teammates.”