There's a new man in charge of the storied York Catholic boys' varsity basketball program, but he's a familiar face to York-Adams League fans.
Former York Suburban head coach Dustin Boeckel has been hired to take over the Fighting Irish program from Blaine Claiborne, who resigned from the job when he moved out of the area.
Boeckel takes over an Irish program that excelled under Claibore for the past three seasons, winning two outright Y-A Division III titles and sharing the D-III crown last season with Littlestown. Claiborne's teams compiled a 40-2 D-III record and a 54-19 overall record.
Before Claiborne's arrival, the Irish had experienced a rare down period, with just one winning season over a seven-season span.
Suburban experience: Boeckel, a 1997 Suburban graduate, led the Suburban program from 2012-2013 through 2015-2016, compiling a 41-50 overall record before resigning to spend more time with his family. He did lead Suburban to a Y-A D-II title in 2013.
The 39-year-old coach, however, is very familiar with the Irish program, having served as Claiborne's assistant the last two seasons. He was also an Irish assistant from 2008 through 2010.
"I have certainly thought about being a head coach as opportunities opened up across the county, but I never applied," Boeckel said. "The only place I wanted to coach at is York Catholic."
York Catholic athletic director Kevin Bankos said Boeckel was the right fit for the program.
"Coach Boeckel had the qualifications we were looking for and he was already on our staff," Bankos said.
Bankos went on to say he admired Boeckel's "passion for the school and the kids and teaching the game," and also said that Boeckel brought "out the best in the athletes he was coaching" while at Suburban.
Learning process: Boeckel said he learned from his experience at Suburban, as well as coaching under Claiborne the last couple of years.
"I certainly learned a lot about practice and in-game preparation and coaching," Boeckel said of his Suburban experience. "But it also taught me about other impact areas, like culture, relationships, personnel, etc I am excited to use my experience gained from there at York Catholic.
Boeckel returns a number of players with varsity experience next year, but he will have to replace the team's top scorers in D'Andre Davis (19.0 points per game) and Torrey Thomas (10.3 ppg), who both graduated.
Optimistic outlook: Despite those losses, Boeckel is optimistic about the direction of the program, although he said he will add his own tweaks to the program now that he's the man in charge.
"I believe we are in a good position and it's only going to get better," he said. "There is enthusiasm and energy from the players and their families. In recent years we have performed well, winning the division and participating in postseason play. We have a lot of good underclassmen coming through our program and I am excited for our future."
Boeckel will not be teaching at York Catholic. He works at Insurance Services United. However, he is the school's youth sports coordinator and spends a lot of time in the building. He's already hit the ground running.
"I have spent some time with the players and their families off the court and am loving it," Boeckel said.
Lofty goals: As far as his goals for the Irish program, Boeckel said he'd like to maintain the program's tradition of excellence, which includes four PIAA state championships since the late 1970s.
"We want to win division, county and district championships, as well as be in a position to compete for state titles," he said.
Reach Steve Heiser at firstname.lastname@example.org.