Prep Basketball

Solon literally goes down the hallway to find new boys' basketball coach

Jared Galpin will lead the Spartans, replacing Matt Lesan, who was a fellow 5th-grade teacher

CEDAR RAPIDS — Solon High School went just a few feet down the hallway of its intermediate school to find its new high school varsity boys’ basketball coach. That’s not an exaggeration.

Jared Galpin will lead the Spartans program, pending school board approval, the school said Monday. Galpin has spent the last three seasons winning a lot of games at Iowa City Regina.

Galpin replaces Matt Lesan, who recently resigned to take a job in the Iowa City Community School District. Lesan and Galpin were both fifth-grade teachers this past school year at Solon.

“We were right next door to each other,” Galpin said. “It’s incredible how sometimes everything just falls into place. This isn’t normal, you know? You become a fifth-grade teacher (at Solon), then the basketball position comes open the next year.”

Galpin had been teaching in the Regina system but accepted a middle-school job last year at Solon. He said he and Lesan regularly had talks about their respective teams.

Solon was 7-15, Regina 15-7. Both clubs had injuries to top players that sabotaged their respective seasons.

Galpin was an assistant coach at Regina for 10 years before getting the head job three years ago. He went 53-14 and led the Regals to the state tournament in 2019.

He also has varsity coaching experience at Paton-Churdan.

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“It’s hard because I taught most of those players that I coach now in fourth grade,” he said. “It was definitely hard having that Zoom conference with them Saturday morning and letting them know what my plans were. They pour so much into the program, the same with me. I’m invested in the things they’ve got going on in their lives, their other athletics and academics and everything like that. A lot of them, I coached their siblings, I know their families well. So, yeah, it was really hard to have to tell them that I was leaving.”

Solon returns over 90 percent of its scoring this coming season. The Spartans have a traditionally strong program, so Galpin has landed in a very good position.

“Being in the community, being in the school, knowing the history of athletics and academics here, it’s just a tremendous opportunity,” he said.

Comments: (319) 398-8259; jeff.johnson@thegazette.com

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