The right person to fill the North Medford girls basketball head coaching position never was that far away from it.
Tim Karrick, who had a successful six-year reign guiding the Black Tornado through the 2007-08 season, was rehired in that capacity Thursday.
He replaces one of his former players, Kailey Bostwick, who recently stepped down after two seasons.
Karrick resigned four years ago in order to spend more time with his family, including two children who had become active in sports.
"I originally had been coaching girls basketball for 11 years," said Karrick, 42. "I was a little burnt out and tired, and my kids were starting to play their own sports. I noticed I was missing more and more of their stuff, and I wanted to be a parent who was going to be around and watch them play. It wasn't fair for me to miss it."
He's since coached their youth teams, and when the North Medford job re-opened, he knew he'd consider applying, but only after he determined the schedule would work with the comings and goings of his family.
"It just had to be right for my family and right for the program," said Karrick, an economics teacher at the school. "I think what we're going to do is right for both.
"North has always been good to me and my family. I think they need some stability in the program, and I think I can provide that. We'll put together a pretty good staff. I'm excited to get back into it."
Bostwick took over for Kevin Dixon, who coached two seasons after Karrick departed.
Under Karrick, the Black Tornado had a 117-42 record and made it to the postseason five out of six seasons. His teams won two conference titles, and he was twice named conference coach of the year.
In the past four years, North Medford has had one winning season, and the teams have gone 47-50.
North Medford athletic director Tim Sam introduced Karrick as the new coach during lunch Thursday. Karrick met with players in the program and that night addressed incoming freshmen during an orientation session.
"Everybody I know and that I've talked to is really excited to have him back," said Sam. "He brings a history of success and knowledge. He's a known quantity. The risk involved is nonexistent."
That Karrick is on staff makes his hiring all the more appealing, said Sam, who received about a half-dozen applications.
Karrick graduated from North Medford in 1988, having lettered in football and basketball.
In addition to his time as head coach, he coached the junior varsity to a 60-6 record over three years and was a varsity assistant for two seasons.
He also was on the football coaching staff in 1993, when the Black Tornado won the state championship, and he's coached track and field at Hedrick Middle School for about a decade.
Part of Karrick's recent coaching has been with Herricane Hoops, the Black Tornado's AAU program.
"I've been coaching," he said, "but it's been less stressful and a lot more low key. It's a different kind of basketball, but I've still been in the gym quite a bit."
And he never really lost the bug to coach.
"I missed basketball," said Karrick. "I have a passion for it and I enjoyed doing it. I missed some of the competitive parts of it and being around the kids and the family atmosphere we had. I've always had the thought in the back of my mind that I'd coach again some day. I just didn't know it would come this quickly."
"I really didn't have a master plan, to be honest. I just let things go along, then this opportunity came up."
He's not prepared to give a detailed analysis of the team he inherits. Among the returners will be first-team all-Southern Oregon Hybrid selection McKensey Peters and Joci Ellis, who received honorable mention.
"I know we're going to play hard and do everything we can to improve," said Karrick. "We'll definitely get better as time goes. There's no magic pill. You have to get in the gym and work hard."
He'll organize open gyms through the rest of the school year, then set up AAU schedules for the summer. There will likely be a total of about 50 games for the varsity, junior varsity and freshman levels, he said.
Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 541-776-4479, or email firstname.lastname@example.org