Oldham County announced on May 11 that it hired an old foe to continue the rebuild of its girls basketball program.

Former Henry County coach Jim Hook will take the reins of the program following seven seasons with the Ladycats.

“The program has a lot of history, and I’d like to kind of work towards returning it to where it used to be,” Hook said of OCHS, which holds the most Eighth Region titles. “I think the talent is there to certainly achieve better.”

Oldham County athletic director David Letendre said Hook’s experience in the Eighth Region played a factor in the hire, among other things.

“One thing I learned when (former boys) coach (Coy) Zerhusen was the coach is that every corner of the state has their different brand of basketball,” Letendre said. “It wasn’t always about the talent on the floor. It’s making sure you’re playing the style of ball that’s going to make you successful against the teams you play against.”

Hook inherited Henry County’s program entering the 2016-17 season with depleted numbers across all levels of the school system. He developed a youth program to rebuild the numbers and helped lead the Ladycats to their first Eighth Region tournament appearance in five years in 2022. 

“Henry was about as low as it’s been (in 2016). Kindergarten through 12th grade, I think I had 26 players. In Oldham County, we’re looking at that number just in the high school program,” Hook said. “The ceiling at Oldham County is just so much higher, and that’s what I’m really excited about. I want to get us back to competing at the highest level in the region, and there’s no reason we shouldn’t.”

Hook, who moved to La Grange last summer, is already developing a connection with the community.

“My wife took a job first at Locust Grove, so when this opened up, it was kind of a no-brainer,” Hook said. “It’s a great community. My wife and I attend church at Southeast La Grange, and we’ve really enjoyed our time here.”

Letendre said Hook’s familiarity with Oldham County and its standards stood out during the interview process. 

“Having only played him a couple times, I was amazed with how much knowledge he had about our girls and their strengths and weaknesses and what he could do with them,” Letendre said. “He was also just very knowledgeable about the history of Oldham County. He understands the history and the expectations that go with that. That’s important.”

OCHS rebounded from an 8-22 season in 2021-22 to post a 14-15 record last year, and Hook believes the team can continue its upward trajectory this season while building for the future. This year’s team features six seniors, including three multi-year starters.

“I think there’s a chance to win right away, and there’s some talent to build from at the younger levels,” Hook said. “At Henry, it was a very slow build up for me … but here, I’d like to do both things at the same time. I’d like to hit the ground running and really get after it.”

Hook met a handful of players last week but plans to formally introduce himself to the team in the next few days as the group prepares for its summer season in June.