Kevin Siroki is in his second season at Westminster, but the 1988 Mineral Ridge High School graduate is in a colder climate than he's accustomed.
Siroki, a 5-foot-8 guard led Westminster to a winning record (58-29) in the early 1990s, came to New Wilmington, Pa., by way of the Central American country of Belize - where he coached at the University of Belize and Galen University.
Westminster has started the season 0-4 and suffered a 108-57 setback at Division I Youngstown State Saturday, but the Titans are rebuilding and still progressing.
Siroki had a late start recruiting in his first season, being hired a few months prior to his season starting at Westminster. Prior to this season, he brought more than a half dozen players.
"We're trying to turn the program around a little bit," Siroki said. "We're progressing. With young guys, you're going to take your lumps. You never know what's going to happen. They're young guys and I got to keep reminding myself, 'They're young, but they're going to play a lot.' "
Senior guard Anthony Thomas (6-0) and 6-3 sophomore guard/forward Paul Carswell, who had a season-high 21 points against YSU, are pacing the Titans. Thomas averages 11 points per game, while Carswell paces Westminster with more than 15 per outing. Jason Pilarski adds less than 13 points per game.
"I'm happy with our progress so far, recruiting-wise," Siroki said. "Our win-loss record may not be one we like, but we're progressing as far as learning and getting experience."
Junior guard Mike Matisi (5-10) from Lowellville and 6-3 freshman guard Cameron Pozsgai from Windham are on the team. Matisi has more than two points per game, while Pozsgai adds 5.5 an outing.
"I'm from a small town, Mineral Ridge, as well," Siroki said. "It's great experience for those guys to come out. We're really happy with those two."
The second-year Westminster coach knows what kind of players he wants in his program.
"A lot of times, we're looking for great character kids," he said. "They're going to come here and get a great education, that's the most important thing. The best part of being here, when I tell them when I'm recruiting them, is walking across that stage and getting that college degree. That puts a smile on my face. We're looking for good kids and good basketball players as well. First thing, we're looking for good character kids."
This summer, Siroki plans to take his players to Belize for a seven-day tour.
"That's my second home," he said.
Considering Ohio's frigid weather, heading to Belize right now sounds like a great idea. Ask Siroki's wife, Nicole.
"It's funny. My wife was here," Kevin said after Saturday's YSU game. "She's from Belize, born and raised there. This morning, before she came, before I left this morning, I said, 'You coming to the game?' She said, 'I don't know. It's too cold.' I'm glad to see her in the stands."
For Westminster, the Titan faithful are glad one of their own came back to bring their program back to life.