Two area schools have opted to go with individuals with no varsity head coaching experience to take over their boys basketball programs and the two choices, Trey Elchert at Wapakoneta and Gabe Young at Allen East, are eager to begin their trek into the competitive northwest Ohio world of hoops.
Both will be hired pending board approval. Elchert and Young will be formally approved at the schools’ respective May board meetings.
Trey Elchert is ready to carve out a name for himself as a varsity coach and continue the winning family tradition that has been established by his father, Scott.
Trey Elchert is a 2013 graduate of Jackson Center and played at Bluffton University where he graduated in 2017. He has been an assistant in the Tiffin City Schools system.
Scott Elchert, who has logged more than two decades as the head coach at Jackson Center has won more than 300 games and has twice taken teams to the final four of the state tournament.
“He has obviously had a huge impact on my development as a person and from a basketball perspective as a coach,” Elchert said. “I’ve grown up in a gym and idolized him for a number of years, and I think it is great because he is a great resource for me to have but he has also set a precedent and an expectation. There are a lot of people in the area that recognize his name and for good reason.”
Elchert added that the goal is to live up to those expectations but at the same time bring his own style and winning ways to Wapakoneta. He replaced Doug Davis who produced a 72-48 mark in his five years at the Wapak helm.
One thing Elchert will bring with him is a strong work ethic and focus on man-to-man defense and a half court approach that has been successful for his father at Jackson Center.
“I think every person has their own little unique twist and changes they will make to things but I still firmly believe man-to-man and half-court style of play is tournament style of basketball,” Elchert said. “I think if you are playing tournament basketball throughout the course of the year it gives you a better chance for a longer tournament run.
Elchert added they are going to try and control the tempo but pointed they may mix it from time to time.
Major challenges face the future first-year head coach. Overseeing the operations and taking on all the management aspects of the position and acclimating to the way a school operates are two main situations he must address.
Another challenge will be competing in the always tough Western Buckeye League that features some of the best teams in northwest Ohio year in and year out.
“Anther challenge for me is that I am coming into a league that is very, very successful in a number of ways,” Elchert said. “Not only the athletes and sports across the board but you have a number of high quality coaches in the WBL so it is not something I am taking lightly … but over the course of time we can establish a program that can match with some of the league schools and really other (sports) in the Wapakoneta school district.”
Elchert said there are pros and cons to being a young coach and how the individual handles the situation is key to being successful.
“I think some of the advantages of being a younger coach is that hopefully you are able to relate to some kids in different ways,” Elchert said. “That is always critical to build relationships with the players. You hope you can bring a spark and an energy to the program and the school itself so those are two right off the surface.”
Like Elchert, Gabe Young is going to be a first-year varsity head coach and like his Wapakoneta counterpart, the 2001 Allen East graduate, is looking forward to the challenges.
Young has coached at Allen East for eight seasons in different capacities. He has served as the junior high boys and girls coach and the junior varsity boys coach. He is also the director of basketball for the Allen Elite AAU.
Young takes over for Brad Clum who stepped down after six seasons with a 49-88 mark. The Mustangs went 0-8 in the Northwest Conference and 6-18 on the season.
“I was excited about the opportunity,” Young said. “It is something I have wanted and worked for the last 10 to 15 years coaching at different levels whether it be youth or others to one day be that varsity coach.”
Young wants to re-energize the program and points to the turnaround of the school’s football program the last two seasons as well as the highly successful wrestling program that continually produces state qualifiers.
“It is a big culture change that we have to start from the bottom, as young as our fourth and fifth grade teams all the way up to our seniors,” Young said. “We have to get these guys back on track and understand that we can win games.”
Young adds that he knows it will not happen overnight and looks to put the time and effort to accomplish this goal of being competitive in the NWC.
“I don’t think we are not going to get outworked,” Young said. “We will be tougher than we were a year ago. Our kids are going to be more prepared than they were a year ago. I think from the standpoint of toughness that comes from being mentally tough. We have to spend more time in the weight room, and we can’t get pushed around.”
Young said one of his influences is Geno Auriemma, the University of Connecticut women’s basketball coach, who has won 11 national titles and Roy Williams, the University of North Carolina men’s basketball coach, who has taken home three national titles.
“I really like what he (Auriemma) does there,” Young said. “He is a player’s coach, and he is going to give all the tools to be successful, and now it is your job to use those tools and then Roy Williams, I like how he really pushes the tempo up and down the floor, and he is very aggressive on defense.”