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High Schools

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Blackmon to return to Luers after all

In the end, it came down to roots.

The roots he put down in Fort Wayne. The roots to which, for a brief time, he seemed to be returning to in his hometown of Marion.

Bishop Luers basketball coach James Blackmon couldn't pull up the former to accommodate the latter, and so this morning he confirmed to The Journal Gazette that he will, indeed, be returning to the Luers sideline this winter.

"After thinking about things and realizing the dramatic change that was gonna come on our family, I realized I wasn't ready to put my family through that change," he said, adding he wanted his son, Indiana University recruit James Jr., to finish out his career at Luers. James Jr. will be a sophomore this fall.

It ends a sometimes bewildering series of events that began when Blackmon initially accepted the vacant job at Marion, where he was an Indiana All-Star in the early 1980s. The Marion school board then confirmed the hiring by a 5-2 vote.

Last Friday, a report surfaced, and was confirmed by Luers athletic director Matt Lindsay, that Blackmon had reversed himself and decided to return to Luers. Then came word later in the day that he and James Jr. were in Marion meeting with school officials.

Blackmon denied that.

"No, that's not right. I was in town on Friday, but I didn't have a meeting with anyone," he said.

He did say the entire process has been as confusing for him as it has been for everyone else.

"At the beginning it happened so fast … just the idea of coaching your high school where you played ball and going back home, all of that was really, really flattering to me," he said. "I thought that was the direction I wanted to go in.

"Once reality set in, I realized I'm taking a lot for granted as far as relocating, going back home, leaving my comfort zone at Luers, the great school Luers is.

"Everyone has been so good to me there, and the people are so great there. I didn't think about all those things. I mean, I actually thought about it, but I wasn't willing to give that up. I guess that was unfair as far as that process was concerned.

"Bottom line, I wanted to put my family in a comfortable position. And we're comfortable here in Fort Wayne."

bensmith@jg.net

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