Lloyd Batts is back.
The 61-year-old coach, who was a prep star at Thornton in the late 1960s, is the new head coach at Julian. Most recently, Batts was the head coach at South Shore, where he was for seven seasons, the last coming in 2009-2010.
"I welcome the challenge," says Batts, who still plays in competitive basketball leagues at the age of 61. "I still have that passion to play and compete, so it's pretty easy to maintain that desire and competitiveness as a coach. As long as I still have that passion, which I do, I will stay involved."
Batts takes over a program that has a basketball history -- the school won three straight regional titles from 2003-2005 and produced the likes of former DePaul player Lance Williams, former McDonald's All-American Sean Dockery and current Bradley player Walter Lemon -- but has struggled as of late. Julian dropped into the Blue Division of the Chicago Public League, where it went 9-0 in the Blue-South a year ago and finished 14-10 overall.
"They have some talented young players in the program and have had some success at the lower levels," says Batts, who spent time as the head coach at South Suburban College. "It's a great and exciting challenge that I'm looking forward to."
After a terrific prep career at Thornton, Batts became the second leading scorer in school history -- behind Oscar Robertson -- at Cincinnati. He was drafted by the Kansas City Kings of the NBA and the Kentucky Colonels of the ABA. He had a short stint with the Virginia Squires before heading off to Europe for a nine-year career.