Central tabs Talbott as Head Girls Basketball Coach

Salina Central High School and Athletics Director Greg Maring announced Thursday morning the hiring of Paige Talbott as the school’s next Head Girls Basketball Coach, pending board approval.

“I am honored and beyond excited to be a part of the coaching staff at Salina Central,” said Talbott in the social media release published by the school. “I am very grateful for the opportunity to work with the Lady Mustangs as we carry forth the tradition of excellence and positive culture of the Salina Central basketball program.”

Talbott, a native of Ellsworth, played college basketball at Barton County Community College before transferring to nearby Bethany College, playing under Head Coach Keith Ferguson, who had nothing but positive remarks on the new leader of the Lady Mustangs.

“I am so excited for Paige. She is going to put in the work that needs to get done to get Central back to where it used to be, not just on the floor, but with the youth and in the community,” said Ferguson, who now coaches at Division II Northeastern State in Oklahoma. “The girls will love playing for her and you won’t find anyone who will care about them as much as she does! I’m excited to watch the Mustangs take the floor!”

Talbott also spent the last two seasons as a Graduate Assistant Coach at Emporia State University. Talbott helped the Hornets to a record of 14-16 overall in 2023-24, with a 10-12 record in the highly-competitive Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, working under first year Head Coach Brian Ostermann.

“Paige is a positive person by nature and players love to be around her,” said ESU Head Coach Brian Ostermann. “I’m excited for her! She will leave a positive influence on everyone who comes in contact with her.”

Now, Talbott will take on a new challenge, following the success of former Central Head Girls Coach Chris Fear, who will now lead the Salina Central boys program after amassing a record of 125-58, while also reaching the State Tournament on four occasions, with two Final Fours, including a 5A State runner-up finish in 2022 with the Lady Mustangs.

“We are very excited about Paige Talbott to lead the Salina Central Girls Basketball Program,” said Athletic Director, Greg Maring in a statement to the media. “Coach Talbott showed her love and passion for the game throughout the interview process along with her desire to build relationships with our kids, developing a team of high character, and toughness.”

Salina Central tallied a 10-11 record in 2023-24, falling in a close loss to Great Bend in the first round of the 5A playoffs, and the 2024-25 season will be one of much change for the Lady Mustangs, following the graduation of eight seniors from the program this past year, including all five starters, but a talented group of underclassmen that saw action this season on numerous occasions, as well as seeing great success at the junior varsity level create plenty of optimism for the future of Salina Central girls basketball under Coach Talbott.