Welp to lead Rangers with passion, integrity

Herald File Photo
David Welp, right, was named the Forest Park boys basketball head coach on Wednesday night at the Southeast Dubois County School Board meeting. Welp, who has spent the last four years as a varsity assistant with the Rangers, will be the ninth head coach in Ranger history as he takes over for Jeff Litherland who stepped away from the program in August.

By HENDRIX MAGLEY
hmagley@dcherald.com

It’s been 14 years since the Forest Park boys basketball team won back-to-back state championships. It’s a time that David Welp can recall rather vividly as he was one of the members of the teams that will forever be remembered in Ranger lore.

But now Welp will have the opportunity to lead the Rangers in an entirely different role — from the sidelines.

On Wednesday evening, the Southeast Dubois County School Board approved Welp to be the ninth boys basketball head coach in program history as he takes over for Jeff Litherland who stepped away from the program in August.

“I’m just so grateful for this opportunity to give back to the basketball program that gave so much to me,” said Welp, who was a varsity assistant under Litherland for the past four seasons. “I’m honored that the school board is allowing me to take on this responsibility and I won’t let the community down.”

Welp, who is also currently the  assistant principal at Forest Park Junior-Senior High School, has experience on the sidelines. Before his time as an assistant with the Rangers, he spent two years as an assistant at Apollo (Ky.) and was also the junior varsity coach at Union County (Ky.).

While Welp knows there will be bumps in the road, he’s hoping his past experiences as an assistant will pay dividends during his head coaching rookie season.

“I understand this is going to be a challenge but learning and growing each day is still very important,” Welp said. “I will rely heavily on my assistant coaches and I’m looking forward to surrounding myself with good assistant coaches (on my staff).”

Welp says he looks forward to leading the program in an energetic fashion while at the same time building the student-athletes to become better individuals both on and off the court.

“I want to help build these students into well-rounded invididuals,” Welp said. “My goal is to lead this team with passion and integrity while building on the success that we’ve had.”

The Rangers will return several key members from last year’s team that reached the IHSAA Class 2A state championship game before being defeated by Oak Hill.

Returning players include Curt Hopf (Soph., PF/C) who made his mark immediately as a freshman with several high-flying dunks and big plays in big moments as well as Isaac Uebelhor (Jr., PG/SG)  who shined for the Rangers in the postseason after taking over the starting point guard role late in the regular season.

Other returning members include Reid Steffe (Sr., SG), Elliott Rothgerber (Sr., SF) and Simon Jacob (Soph., SF).




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