After two years away, Don Dimoff returns to lead Red Lion High girls' basketball program

  • Don Dimoff is returning as the head coach of the Red Lion girls' basketball program.
  • Dimoff spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach at Millersville University.
  • In 22 years as Red Lion's head coach, Dimoff had a record of 480-141, including two district titles.

It wasn’t exactly the best kept secret within the York-Adams League girls’ basketball coaching ranks that former Red Lion boss Don Dimoff would be back leading a local program at some point.

Don Dimoff

It turns out that the rumors of Dimoff’s return were not only true, but that it came sooner rather than later.

Dimoff confirmed Thursday that he'll be back at the helm at Red Lion High School next season. He already resigned his position at Millersville University as an assistant coach with the women’s program. His daughter, Courtney, was a sophomore guard for the Maruaders this past season.

“I think that everyone (of the coaches) just assumed that I wouldn’t pan out or like it as an assistant,” said Dimoff, who led the Lions to a pair of District 3 Class 4-A titles in 2011 and 2012 during a successful 22-year run as the head of the program. “But I did enjoy it.“

Dimoff will take over for Bill Novak, who led the program for the two years following Dimoff’s departure to Millersville in 2016. Novak finished with a 19-25 record over the past two years as the team’s head coach before stepping down at the conclusion of the season.

“When Bill decided to step down, (Red Lion AD) Arnie (Fritzius) came to me and asked if I had any interest in the position,” Dimoff said.

Will still get to see daughter play: After getting assurances from the Red Lion officials that they would work to allow Dimoff the opportunity to make it to Millersville home games, which are typically played on Wednesday evenings, it didn’t take too long for Dimoff to give his consent.

“I wanted to get to most, if not all, of Courtney’s games, so that was a big consideration as well,” Dimoff said. “And they said that they will work it out as best as they can.”

Expectations are same: Dimoff, who is just 20 wins shy of 500 for his career, may return as a little bit of a different coach than he was two years ago, but his expectations for the girls and the program will remain the same.

“The goals will be like they always were,” he said. “To be as competitive as possible in the county, the district and hopefully in the state.”

The Lions had a tough season this past year, finishing 8-14 overall and 4-8 mark in Y-A Division I. Dimoff, however, is confident that he can coach his new team up for some degree of improvement.

Don Dimoff won 480 games over 22 years as the Red Lion girls' basketball coach. YORK DISPATCH FILE PHOTO

“As long as they play hard and play together we’ll be able to figure it out,” he said. “That’s all that we ask and that was really our formula at Red Lion for many, many years.”

Getting acclimated: While Dimoff is certainly a familiar face to nearly all of the girls in the program, from youth up to high school, the veteran coach is spending some time now getting acclimated to many of the girls he will coach next season.

“I know all of the kids because they’ve come up through the youth program with me, but I don’t know them all basketball-wise because of the last couple of years (being away from the program),” he said. “I’m just trying to get used to them and they’re getting used to me.”

Dimoff was 480-141 in his previous Red Lion stint, good for a .773 winning percentage. In league games, Dimoff's Lions were even better, going 298-38 (an .887 winning percentage). Dimoff's teams won nine York-Adams League titles. Red Lion also won 14 Y-A Division I titles under Dimoff, including winning 12 straight from 2000-01 through 2011-12. 

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