MIDDLEBURY — Jason Ridge is resigning as Northridge High School boys basketball coach and as a teacher at Northridge Middle School to become an assistant principal at Whitko High School in South Whitley.
Northridge athletic director Dave Harms confirmed Tuesday night that Ridge is planning to resign, but added that the move is not effective yet and does not become official until the school board acts.
Multiple sources indicated Ridge has accepted the position at Whitko.
Ridge, who could not be reached for comment Tuesday evening, met with his players earlier in the day to inform them of his intentions, according to Harms.
Ridge, 36, guided the Raiders to a 68-60 record over six seasons — highlighted by the first unbeaten regular season by an Elkhart County boys team in 19 years when Northridge went 21-1 in 2008-09.
The Raiders were 10-11 this past season, their third straight losing mark on the heels of that ’08-09 campaign.
“Jason is a very, very impressive young man,” Harms said. “I think the utmost of him, and Jason, in whatever he wants to do, will be successful. I guess the best thing about him is he puts things in perspective, and he gets things done. He’s done a nice job.”
Harms said a timetable to replace Ridge as basketball coach won’t be determined until after the resignation becomes official.
“I’d like to have it done before the school year is over, but you never know,” Harms said. “We’re going to look for a good replacement to come in and take over a program that’s doing a good job.”
Northridge is expected to return Elkhart Truth All-Area first-teamer Nate Ritchie and three other starters next season.
Ridge, a 1994 graduate of Wapahani High School and self-described basketball junkie, coached for three years at South Adams, going 20-41, before being hired at Northridge in 2006 to succeed Steve Austin.
He became the sixth coach in Raider history, beginning with Irv Pratt (199-129 in 15 years), followed by Ken Pletcher (49-36 in four), Mike Lord (19-24 in two), Tom Crews (52-58 in five) and Austin (160-93 in 11).
The outright Northern Lakes Conference title that Ridge’s Raiders won in 2008-09 remains the only one in the program’s 25 years in the league. Northridge tied for the NLC crown in 1995-96 and 1997-98 under Austin.
The program has captured seven sectional titles, five of those by Austin (three single-class, two in Class 3A) and one each under Pratt and Crews. It was under Ridge that the Raiders were reclassified from 3A to 4A beginning in 2007-08.
Ridge and wife Danelle have two young children, Marcus and Gemma.