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Coach from East Jessamine to take reins of FHS boys basketball

Frankfort High School’s new boys basketball coach will be Chris O’Bryan, the longtime boys coach at East Jessamine High School and husband of a newly announced Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor.

O’Bryan, who has coached at East Jessamine High School for 18 years, accepted the position at FHS on Wednesday, said Principal John Lyons. He was offered the position one day earlier.

O’Bryan said he chose to accept the Frankfort job because of the quality of education offered by the Frankfort Independent Schools system, noting that his children are in high school and that Frankfort High School was recently named 19th-best high school in the state by U.S. News and World Report.

“I think we’ve also got a great opportunity from a basketball standpoint,” he said. “We have a tremendous amount of talent coming back, and there’s a lot of positivity in the community and excitement.”

But O’Bryan’s wife, Jacqueline Coleman, may also score a job in Frankfort if she’s successful in the 2019 elections. Coleman is Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear’s running mate in the 2019 gubernatorial race.

O’Bryan said his wife’s decision to run for lieutenant governor was not a significant factor in his decision but that he’s been teased about “beating her to the punch.”

O’Bryan said he plans to stay at FHS regardless of what happens in the 2019 election.

“I see this as being the place where I finish my career,” he said.

Lyons said Thursday that Frankfort High School is excited about bringing on O’Bryan, adding that FHS offered the East Jessamine coach the job because of “everything he brought to the table.”

Specific examples mentioned by Lyons included that O’Bryan racked up more than 300 wins and that he would be supportive of dual-sport athletes, of which FHS expects to have many. Lyons said he expects FHS will regularly compete for the district title and make runs at the region and state title with O’Bryan as coach.

O’Bryan went 310-229 in 18 seasons with the Jaguars and won 28 games in 2012, a school record, the Herald-Leader reported. The school has not played in the Sweet Sixteen.

“I really enjoyed my two-plus decades in Jessamine County. I got to teach some of the brightest people and got to coach some of the brightest young men,” he said.

O’Bryan said he’s already working on putting together his coaching staff. Former Western Kentucky University basketball player Butch Jointer will be the assistant head coach under O’Bryan.

O’Bryan will replace Nick Barton, who coached FHS boys basketball for five years and was officially notified last month he wouldn’t be retained as the boys coach. In Barton’s five years, the Panthers went 59-88.

Outside of coaching, O’Bryan will work as director of the alternative school program at Frankfort High School.

In the next week or two, O’Bryan will meet with FHS players, Lyons said.