Created on Wednesday, 22 May 2013 Written by AARON LaBATT
A familiar face will move to the forefront of the West Liberty-Salem boys basketball program as Darrin Leichty takes over as the Tigers’ head hoops coach.
Leichty, who was named head coach at Tuesday’s board of education meeting, replaces Aaron Hollar, who stepped down at the end of last season after 15 years at the helm.
A 1996 graduate of WL-Salem, Leichty is thrilled to be taking over at his alma mater. He has over a decade’s worth of coaching experience in the Tigers’ basketball program. Leichty coached the eighth-grade team for three years and has been the junior varsity coach for the past nine seasons.
“I’m excited about becoming the head coach,” said Leichty. “Coming out of college and coaching junior high, I didn’t have any real plans of getting to this position. Then I became the junior varsity coach and soaked up a lot of information from coach Hollar.
“Over the past couple of years I’ve thought about doing varsity if the position ever became available, and it did. It’s pretty sweet that it is the place I graduated from and the place where I teach at.”
Leichty made the most of those nine seasons under Hollar as he took in as much information and basketball knowledge as he could. He plans to use a good portion of what he learned from his mentor as he moves into the top spot of the program.
“I think one of the biggest things (I learned) is in the details,” said Leichty. “Coach Hollar was the ultimate planner. He took care of every little detail and was always prepared. Those were things that I learned, that got me going and kept me efficient as a coach. Those are things I’ll continue to do, like taking care of personnel and making changes based on the strengths of our kids. Fundamentals will be key as well.
“There will be some things that are different. We lost 85 percent of our scoring and rebounding from last year. I still think there is a lot of talent in the program. We’ll just have to find different ways to score. We’ll have to create a lot of pressure with our defense and use defense to create scoring opportunities.”
The benefit of having been in the program for 12 years is how familiar Leichty is with the players he will be working with.
“I think the transition will go pretty smoothly,” said Leichty. “The kids know what is expected by me and I know what I’m getting from them. I’m sure it’ll be an adjustment for returning varsity players because we won’t do things exactly the same. In the same token, I have coached all of them before, so it shouldn’t be too bad.”