High School Basketball

Columbia native, Ridge View assistant named boys basketball coach at South Florence

Christian Savage is ready for his opportunity to be a head basketball coach and will get the chance.

Savage was named new boys’ basketball coach at South Florence. His hire was approved Thursday at the Florence One School Board meeting.

Savage replaces John Schweitz, who resigned in March after nine seasons.

“I always dreamed about being a head coach and to get opportunity from South Florence, I am truly thankful,” Savage said. “All the coaches, I have coached under like Darryl Heath, Russell Dean, John Combs and Yerrick Stoneman have helped prepare me for this opportunity and I have learned a lot from them that I can take to this job.”

At age 26, Savage is one of the youngest high school basketball coaches in the state in the state. New Lexington coach Elliott Pope also is just 26 years old.

Savage has been part of the Ridge View coaching staff for all but one year since 2012-13 and was part of the Blazers’ back-to-back Class 4A championship teams under Yerrick Stoneman. He also has been a coach for the Upward Stars AAU program.

Savage played in high school at Ridge View before finishing his senior season at Dutch Fork.

South Florence finished 11-13 this past season and lost in the first round of the playoffs to Lexington. South went to playoffs in three of the last five seasons, making it to the third round in 2015.

South Florence returns Justice Jackson and Brian Sparks next, who Savage calls two of the key pieces for next year’s team.

“We are going to play fast. I plan on having a program that the kids are going hard and the right way,” Savage said. “I also want to prepare the kids for the next level, both on and off the court developing them.”