Orlando Faith Christian lands prized rookie amid managerial changes – Orlando Sentinel
A highly sought-after women’s basketball rookie plans to play her high school season at the junior high school level in Orlando.
6ft 3in standout winger Chloe Kitts is expecting big things in 2022-23 after enrolling at Faith Christian Academy this spring following a major shakeup at the private school east of Orange County.
Chloe’s father, Jason Kitts, was hired as Faith’s new athletic director late last month. His former youth coach, Joshua Johns, is the new head coach of a program that reached the FHSAA Class 2A state championship game in February.
“I’m really excited for this year,” Kitts said. “I’m happy to be at Faith Christian and to be back in Orlando. I think we can be the best team in the state and one of the best teams in the country.
Kitts, a Washington state native who moved with his family to Oviedo in 2015, teamed with current Hagerty players Hannah Kohn and Kiara Harris as freshmen in 2019-20 at the Master’s Academy, where they finished as Class 3A runners-up.
Kitts now ranks No. 16 nationally in her class on the ESPN HoopGurlz Super 60 Player Rankings. She spent the past two years at the independent DME Academy in Daytona Beach, where she was the top scorer and rebounder in the course of of his second and junior seasons.
DME finished 14th in the nation in the final MaxPreps Xcellent rankings and entered its first GEICO High School Nationals tournament in April.
The aspirations Kitts carried with her when she joined DME two years ago remain in tow as she transitions to Faith.
“This experience has been great. It was fun to play at the national level,” she said. “This year, Faith Christian will compete against the best teams in the state and nation, and hopefully we’ll race for GEICO as well.”
It’s too early to tell what the rest of the Lions roster will look like. What is certain is that Kitts will play alongside younger sister Kylee Kitts, a rising 6-foot-2 sophomore, but many players are unlikely to remain on the tournament squad. Status 2021-22.
Faith’s first-year head coach Eduardo Soto and assistant Victor Rodriquez were forced out of their positions following the change in administration. Rodriguez had recently completed his 10th season as a school coach.
“I was caught off guard and the parents are still hurt by it,” Rodriguez said.
“They took my title away from me and never gave me the opportunity to keep my job, and I still don’t know why,” Soto said. “Everything we’ve done this year has been nothing but good. Our girls had a 3.6 GPA average and they never had any issues. We behaved with class and brought the community together.
Soto and Rodriguez had daughters on last year’s squad, which included seven players who were Florida Virtual School students. These girls did not attend classes at school but were allowed to participate in extracurricular activities.
Jason Kitts insists Soto was not fired, but refused to accept an assistant or co-coaching position on Johns’ team. As of last month, Kitts said, Faith Christian has required its varsity head coaches to be full-time, certified employees who work on campus.
“Why come here all of a sudden and change that?” It doesn’t make sense unless there’s a hidden agenda behind it,” Soto said. “I told them I would be the janitor and clean the toilets for this. The only reason they implemented this policy is because they knew it was probably the only way to get me out.
Soto said Friday via social media that he does not plan to coach at the high school level in 2022-23. No other Faith Christian coaches have been replaced, according to Jason Kitts.
“We wanted Coach Soto to be there, but unfortunately he chose to go in a different direction,” Kitts said.
Kitts, who hosted basketball camps at Faith Christian this spring before being hired, said he was approached by the principal and school principal about the athletic director position when his girls were involved in the admissions process.
The AD position was vacated by Faith’s longtime coach Tony Medina more than a year ago, shortly after Faith’s football program was penalized by the Florida High School Athletic Association for the use of ineligible players.
Medina was recently named director of basketball operations at the Geneva School in Winter Park.
“They haven’t had a compliant athletic department for some time, and they asked if a managerial position would be something I would be interested in. Coach Johns, based on all the years he’s known me, thought I would be a good fit,” Kitts said.
“The big vision is new facilities, like a new football field and a baseball field,” he said. “There are sports that we don’t have in place right now, so my job is to create food programs within the Faith culture and community.”
Johns has worked at Faith for the past five years. He helped men’s basketball coach Andy Sarasty oversee the athletics department for the past year while coaching Hagerty’s women’s basketball team.
Johns resigned from his position at Hagerty immediately after the season in part due to broken relationships with parents. He served six years as head coach and 10 years in total with the program. Hagerty boys’ basketball coach Josh Kohn, father of Hannah Kohn, will coach the Huskies men’s and women’s teams next season.
“It wasn’t the most enjoyable experience as a coach, but I put everything into coaching these youngsters,” Johns said.
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Reuniting with Chloe Kitts, whom he began coaching when she was in fifth grade, Johns is tasked with overseeing a team that will gain national attention from opponents and college scouts.
Kitts considered playing Hagerty as a freshman before opting for the Master’s Academy.
Now, switching to a physical school becomes a necessity after spending the last three years in the Florida Virtual School Flex program as a homeschooler. She will spend her senior year taking online and face-to-face classes while completing high school.
“I’m glad she’s coming back to the Orlando area to finish and leave a legacy in a proper way,” Johns said. “I’m so happy for this kid. She could have gone anywhere else in the country and played.
When she’s not keeping busy at school or the gym, Kitts does her best to live in the moment while browsing over 40 college offers and navigating all that comes with being a gamer of her own. stature.
“Growing up, I never thought this was where I would be,” Kitts said. “That’s always been my goal, but I stay humble, I keep working and I don’t let it get to my head.”