FISHER — John Fisher and Ross Harden are receiving an opportunity to show they have the chops to coach basketball at the high school level.

The two are taking over the Fisher boys and girls basketball programs, respectively, after being approved by the school board last week.

Fisher replaces Cody Diskin, who is set to become the Bunnies’ high school athletic director later this year. Harden steps in for Ken Ingold, who is slated to start as the junior high AD this summer.

Fisher, 26, will be a boys basketball head coach for the first time. He most recently was a Tri-Valley boys assistant coach for the past four seasons but also oversaw the Heyworth girls squad in the past.

“It seemed pretty seamless to accept the job here as a (physical education) teacher and now as the basketball coach,” Fisher said. “It’s just exciting ... to get a new start because you get to implement things in your way and how you envision them.”

Fisher played two seasons of basketball and one season of baseball at Lincoln College and also spent a year apiece as a hoops assistant coach at Lincoln and Eureka College. He currently works in his family’s garage door business as well.

The Bunnies’ boys basketball program won 71 games and one Class 1A regional championship during Diskin’s five seasons atop the coaching chain, putting up a 6-23 ledger in the 2019-2020 season.

“I’m really looking forward to the opportunity we are presented with our world situation as it is,” said Fisher, referencing the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. “Being able to get to know them and building a bond and relationship before we actually get on the basketball court. I think that’s going to make my delivery and communication ... a little more efficient.”

Harden, 35, has a bit more sideline experience than Fisher.

Harden spent 14 of the previous 15 years working as either a junior high head coach or high school assistant coach at Blue Ridge, his alma mater. He was a Bunnies boys assistant under Diskin last season.

“It really means a lot to get a shot at a varsity job,” Harden said. “I’ve applied for a few and haven’t gotten it, but I think this was the right one for me.”

Harden noted he’ll “have some big shoes to fill” in taking over for Ingold, who compiled 174 victories and three regional titles in 12 seasons at the forefront of Fisher girls basketball. The Bunnies posted a 14-16 record in Ingold’s last go-round.

“We’re going to be a gritty, hard-nosed, defensive team,” said Harden, who currently works at Gibson Area Hospital on a full-time basis. “I like to get up and down the court — run and gun a little bit — and try to play fast.”

Unlike Fisher on the boys side, this is Harden’s inaugural dip into the varsity head coaching pool.

“I’ve learned from some good coaches around here, and Cody’s taught me a lot,” Harden said. “Hopefully we can make the Fisher community proud.”

clikas@news-gazette.com