State COY surprise to Wise

Published 12:36 am Friday, March 24, 2023

South Point Pointers’ Travis Wise was voted the Ohio Division 3 Coach of the Year by the Ohio Prep Sports Writers Association. (Tim Gearhart Sports Photo for The Ironton Tribune)

By Jim Walker

SOUTH POINT — It’s often said that you should keep your eyes on the prize.

Email newsletter signup

South Point Pointers’ boys head basketball coach Travis Wise wasn’t even looking.

Wise was caught totally off-guard when he found out he was voted the Division 3 Ohio Coach of the Year by a panel of Ohio prep sports writers.

“I was surprised because there are a lot of good coaches out there who put a lot of time in. I’m pretty happy It kind of gives you that little bit of notice for the hard work in the past and up to this point,” said Wise.

“Coaches don’t ask for a lot, but a little recognition is nice. But everyone knows it’s all about the players. For people to look at South Point and say they did a remarkable job is really it for me. I was thrilled. But it just goes back to the kids worked hard. We were at it for five months but the kids were fun to be around. They came in every day and just worked and listened to us. We had some kids step up late in the year.”

Former South Point coach Gary Norris coached the team to a 20-0 regular season only to be upset by Ironton in the sectional finals.

“There wasn’t a super sectional back then so they played the 8/9 seed winner and that was.a scary spot,” said Wise.

“Gong into the season, I felt we could make a district run. We talked about it at the beginning of the season you had to get lucky a couple of times to get to that next step. We played Portsmouth and Fairland and one game went into overtime and one was a last-second shot. There’s a little luck that goes into a season like that.”

In his ninth season as the Pointers’ head coach, Wise guided the team to an 18-4 regular season record and 22-5 overall which is a school record for wins, their first Ohio Valley Conference championship since 2008 and only the second district title and regional appearance in school history.

The only other South Point team to reach the regional tournament came in 1990 when former Marshall coach Rick Huckabay was at the helm.

“I thought we were good. We played some good teams and we went through the OVC which I thought was pretty strong this year. Fairland, Portsmouth, Gallipolis and Ironton really stepped it up,” said Wise.

Although the award is given to Wise and he is happy for the honor, he really sees it as an award to everyone involved and a sense of pride for them.

“I’m happy for the kids, the community here, the school. We needed something that maybe created a spark to carry over into our other sports,” said Wise who racked up his 100th career win when the Pointers beat Cabell Midland this past season.

“Maybe we can start that tradition again like in the 70s. We were good in multiple sports, not just one sport here and one sport there.”