Nick Karle didn’t duck anything in his job interview.
“I told Johnny that, first and foremost, I want to get back into district and region play,” Karle said of his conversation with Rose Hill Christian athletic director Johnny Bush, seeking to become the Lady Royals’ head basketball coach. “Whether we get slaughtered or not, I don’t want to just beat down schools that are lower than us. I want to play teams that are better than us. I want us to compete and get better throughout the year.
“We’re gonna take our knocks in the beginning, but by the end of the year I’d like to be competitive with some of these district teams. I’d like to win some region games this year. I’d like to challenge Fairview and the Greenups and smaller schools that I think we can compete with. That’s a goal, win some region games, take the district and make it a close ball game at the end of the year. Just one step at a time.”
Such is Karle’s mentality taking over the Lady Royals for his first high school head coaching job. He most recently worked as head assistant coach at Kentucky Christian University, before which he was a middle school head coach and high school assistant in West Virginia.
Karle was hired on Friday.
“Just getting the opportunity to have a program of my own now, I’m pretty excited,” Karle said.
Karle tutored Rose Hill Christian’s middle school boys team last year, and his wife, Natalie, teaches sixth-graders at the school, so Bush had some familiarity with him before their interview.
“Talking with Nick and going along with the school board’s decision, I think that Nick is a good fit for the program,” Bush said. “I think he knows what he’s doing and he’s gonna have it going in a good direction.”
Karle, 34, is a graduate of Chesapeake (Ohio) and attended North Central College (Naperville, Illinois) and Shawnee State.
Karle competed under the venerable Norm Persin at Chesapeake, playing what he called “a very slow, meticulous type of style.” Karle intends to take that and KCU coach Akeem Scott’s “fast-paced style” and “kinda meet in the middle,” he said.
“I’m a big defensive guy, so defense is a big area of my coaching and my strength,” Karle said. “With the lack of size we have, we’re gonna have to put pressure on full-court. That’s one thing we’re gonna implement off the bat is full-court pressure and dictate through our defense how our offense is gonna come.”
Rose Hill Christian did not compete in 64th District seeding or tournament play the last five seasons, although the Lady Royals did still play home-and-home series with Fairview. Rose Hill’s loss to the Lady Eagles on Jan. 21 was its 64th in a row against district opponents — it last won a game against district opposition on Feb. 9, 2008.
And the Lady Royals’ setback to Menifee County on Feb. 11 was its 90th consecutive against 16th Region opponents. They last beat a region foe on Dec. 10, 2010.
That didn’t deter Karle.
“I’ve never inherited a team that is great off the bat,” he said. “I’ve always produced good teams, and the results are always rewarding at the end.”
Karle is married to Natalie, who served as West Carter’s volleyball coach in 2017. They have two kids: Gabby, who is going into seventh grade and will compete for the Lady Royals’ point guard role, and Max, who is entering fifth grade. The family lives in Cannonsburg.
Karle teaches English at Ramey-Estep.
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