The Olentangy Liberty girls basketball team has done some pretty special things over the course of the last six seasons.
The Patriots were consistently in the conversation as one of the area’s top teams, but it wasn’t only because they were a great team. That helped, of course, but the league championships and district title appearances — and the district title they won in 2015 as the fifth-ranked team in the state — came because they were a family.
That said, it’s only fitting one of the family members, Tom Waterwash, was named the next girls basketball coach at Olentangy Liberty High School late last week.
Waterwash takes over for Sam Krafty after serving as one of his assistants each of the past four seasons.
“Six years ago he (Krafty) and a few really special classes of student-athletes changed the culture of this program to one in which everyone is going to put in the work … and they’re going to do it because they value the person beside them,” Waterwash said. “Two of the biggest things I’ve learned from Coach Krafty, things I think are his legacy for the entire program, are a willingness to put in the work and the value of relationships.
“I owe a lot to Coach Krafty and am truly grateful that he brought me into this special program. I can’t emphasize my gratitude toward him enough, personally and for this program as a whole.”
Waterwash has been part of the Liberty family pretty much as long as the school’s been around. He played baseball and basketball for the Patriots before taking his talents to Otterbein University, where he was a four-year player and senior captain of the men’s basketball team.
He was the head girls basketball coach at Liberty Middle School before joining Krafty’s staff and served as a varsity assistant for Ty Brenning and the Liberty baseball team for each of the last six years — a run which includes 2018’s state championship.
“I’m honored and proud to get to continue to be part of this program,” Waterwash said. “Liberty is a special place with a lot of great people and really great kids. I think I knew that as a high school kid, but have a much greater understanding and appreciation now as a teacher and coach … I’m very fortunate to be part of this.”