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Don Kloth coached Zion-Benton to a Class 4A second-place finish in 2008. | Sun-Times Media Library
Zion-Benton coaching legend Don Kloth was hired Tuesday by the Warren High School Board of Education to work as an assistant on varsity boys basketball coach Ryan Webber’s staff.
The hiring ended months of speculation regarding the coaching future of Kloth, who finished with a record of 528-221 with the Zee-Bees. His teams won 14 regional titles, two sectional titles, and finished second in the 2008 IHSA Class 4A state tournament in 2008.
Kloth retired from teaching at Zion-Benton High several years ago, but remained active with the school’s athletic program as varsity basketball coach and a lower-level football coach. He was not retained as a football coach when Bob Moynihan was hired to head the varsity program last spring.
Zion-Benton team finished 26-4 last season, and was one of two teams in the state to beat Stevenson before being ousted in a regional final by St. Viator.
Attempts Wednesday to contact Zion-Benton athletic director Lonnie Bible were unsuccessful, and Kloth respectively declined to talk about the situation.
Webber, who replaced one county coaching legend — Chuck Ramsey — and now will be working with another, was thrilled with his newest staff addition.
“Don and I spoke several times over the phone about joining my staff here at Warren,” Webber said. “He is a great coach with a lot of experience that he will offer to our staff and to our players in our program.
“At the current time, I am not sure what level he will be coaching. It is all new and will be allowed to play out this summer. I am very excited to have him join us at Warren.”
The Blue Devils athletic director Mark Pos could not speak more highly of the new addition to Warren.
“Don will be an outstanding fit into our program,” Warren athletic director Mark Pos said. “His knowledge of not only Lake County basketball but also basketball in general, gives our staff another veteran basketball mind that will help our program stay highly competitive now and in the future. I really think it says a lot that Don would want to become part of Ryan’s staff here at Warren.”
Pos said coach Webber has not yet settled upon where Kloth will fit in the Blue Devil coaching scheme.
“In my conversation with Ryan regarding Don, his coaching position on the staff will be determined when he has a chance to meet with his entire staff as a whole,” Pos said. “We still have one more position to fill and once that has been completed, Ryan can then determine placement of all of his coaches.
“I am very excited about Don joining our coaching staff. Don is a class act and has always been about what is best for kids,’’ Pos said. ‘‘Much like he has done at Zion for all of his years, he will represent Warren, our athletic program, and our boys basketball program positively.’’
1989-90 — 2-24 (Won first two games, then lost 24 in a row.)
1990-91 — 8-18
1991-92 — 10-16
1992-93 — 9-17
1993-94 — 23-5 (Kloth’s first winning team featured Theandre “Aunie” Kimbrough, Akili Curry, Lonnie Graves and big Azel Lakes. Lost in sectional semis 72-70 to Libertyville that was led by Matt Heldman.)
1994-95 — 25-4 (Blown out 87-72 by Warren in sectional finals at Waukegan’s Dog Pound.)
1995-96 — 18-10
1996-97 — 20-10
1997-98 — 30-2 (Fell to Maine West in the Round of 16. Stars were Quiande Moore, Darnell Fields, Al Lainio and Karl Krass.)
1998-99 — 25-5 (In the sectional semis, Mundelein outscored Z-B 26-11 in the fourth quarter to pull off the upset. This was the year Warren finished second at state, and split with Z-B during the regular season.)
1999-00 — 22-9 (Andre White’s freshman year; lost in sectional finals to Warren.)
2000-01 — 26-6 (The backcourt was sophomore Andre White and freshman Julian Lott.) Quienton Davis, Jerrel Smith and Jason George also played key roles. Beat Warren 51-47 in sectional final, then was routed by Schaumburg in the Round of 16.)
2001-02 — 24-5 (Sixth regional title in a row. Lost 53-51 to Warren in sectional semis when Ashton Hughes hit a miracle 40-footer at the buzzer.)
2002-03 — 29-4 (Andre White’s final game with the Bees; Julian Lott, MacArthur White and Quincy Rogers also were key players. Bees lost in Round of 16 to a young John Scheyer and Glenbrook North 71-55.)
2003-04 — 26-3
2004-05 — 24-6 (Don Kloth reached the 300-win milestone early in this season, and a story in the paper was about him working on his second 300. Turns out it wasn’t to be. Front line was 6-5 Zac Ruckebeil, 6-4 Rajohn Kidd, and 6-6 big Tim Baines who couldn’t play his senior year because he was too old for high school hoops.)
2005-06 — 18-12
2006-07 — 25-8 (Lenzelle Smith’s freshman year.)
2007-08 — 32-(Finished second in Class 4A behind Rodney Clinkscales, Markus Yarbrough, Antonio Stewart, Quintrell Love.)
2008-09 — 25-7 (Beat Jereme Richmond and Waukegan during the regular season, but lost to the Bulldogs in the sectional semis.)
2009-10 — 20-11
2010-11 — 21-10 (Malik Yarbrough’s freshman season. He would end his career with 2,621 point as Lake County’s all-time leading scorer).
2011-12 — 15-15 (A school strike made a mess of this season, but Zion did catch fire late.)
2012-13 — 25-6 (Last regional title under Kloth. Lost in sectional semis to St. Viator).
2013-14 — 26-4 (Kloth’s last game as coach was a regional final loss to St. Viator.)
TOTALS: 25 years — 528-221