No ordinary Joe: Helias names Rothweiler new hoops head coach

Joe Rothweiler will take over as head coach of the Helias Crusaders. (Rod Smith/KRCG13)

JEFFERSON CITY --- Before his resignation last week, Josh Buffington had one final wish.

Perhaps he found the right bottle and the right Genie ... but probably not.

In any event, Buffington's wish has been granted --- Joe Rothweiler, the top assistant for Buffington the last 10 years --- was named the new head basketball coach of the Helias Crusaders on Thursday.

"I've been here for 10 years coaching under Josh, and now moving over that one seat brings a lot of excitement," Rothweiler said. "I'm looking forward to getting things rolling, quickly, into the summer and then on into the season.

"I love everything about Helias. I was a Catholic growing up, but I kind of grew away from it. But I came back when we came here ... the people are great, the kids are great."

Buffington's face and voice bubbled with excitement.

"This has given me even more closure with my decision, because now I know they can keep it going and maybe even take it to another level," said Buffington, who won 195 games in 10 years at Helias, with seven district championships and three trips to the Final Four.

"That will be very special to me, coach Joe and Helias. To see a guy who deserves it, who's earned it, to get his chance to put his own twist on it, it's great. In my mind, there was no other choice."

In other words, a no-brainer.

"I think it was a situation where we've been very successful the past 10 years," Buffington said, "and when you have the answer right underneath your nose, it's time to move forward.

"It shows the great relationship I had with Helias, that Joe had with Helias, and the respect they have for our program."

Rothweiler, 35, grew up in Hannibal and was a basketball standout for the Pirates, as the 6-4 All-Stater led the school to its first Final Four in 2001. His relationship with Buffington goes back even farther, as Buffington also grew up in Hannibal.

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