Elsbernd named new Wildcats varsity basketball coach

  A new face will be leading the Pendleton County boys basketball program next season following the announcement that Sam Elsbernd has accepted the head coaching position. Elsbernd has served as the coach for the Bracken County Lady Bears over the past two seasons and will be taking over for the departing Keaton Belcher, who agreed to become the head coach at Ryle High School on March 31 following five seasons as the Wildcats head coach.

 Elsbernd, 34, totaled a 20-41 record while leading the Lady Bears and prior to that served as a varsity boys assistant at Bracken County as well as Scott High and Homes. During his time at Holmes, he helped capture four regional titles, including a Sweet Sixteen Championship in 2009 and state runner-up finish. He credits David Henley, Brad Carr and Jason Hinson for helping develop him into the coach that he is today.

 "I'm very excited for this opportunity," Elsbernd said. " It was a tough decison for me to leave the girls team that I have coached and gotten close with, but my goal has always been to lead a boys program that has a great tradition and supportive fans. I know that Pendleton County has an amazing following and I've seen that first-hand at the regional tournament in recent years," he added.

 Elsbernd grew up in Covington as has had a strong attachment to the game of basketball throughout his life. He says that his grandma told him that the first words she recalls him saying as a baby were "ball" and "net". He plans on meeting with his new team later this week and describes himself as a defensive-minded coach that will emphasize skill development.

 "I know the team graduates two seniors. Obviously, Dontaie Allen is a big loss to any progam as he is a special talent. Cody Sullivan was also a great shooter. As far as pace of play, I typically let my athletes decide that. My goal is for us to be physically and mentally tough team that works hard to achieve our goals," he said.

  Elsbernd is currently engaged and he and his fiance plan to wed in June 2020. They currently reside in Augusta but plan to move closer to Pendleton County in the near future. He is a 2004 graduate of of Northern Kentucky University and a veteran of the United States Navy where he served from 2009-12. He is currently completing his Master's Degree at Georgetown University.