When Alex Staub started his coaching career in his late teens, he just wanted to stay involved in the sport.
The Delone Catholic High School graduate began coaching Catholic Youth Organization basketball and admittedly wasn’t exactly sure what he was doing. Becoming a high school head coach was far from his mind at that time, when the teenage Staub was struggling to find his own way to lead a team.
In 2010 and 2011, when Staub’s teams put together consecutive 20-win seasons, his goals changed. The idea of leading his own varsity program became attractive.
“When you’re 18 and 19 and a head coach of a team, you’re just making mistake after mistake trying to figure out the right way,” Staub said. “When they started responding to me, you realize that maybe this could be something that you really do well.”
A decade later, Staub achieved his goal after he was approved as the new head coach of the Hanover High varsity boys’ basketball team. Staub has been a member of the Nighthawks’ staff since 2015 as the ninth-grade coach after he served in the same role for Bermudian Springs High.
“It’s a tremendous feeling,” Staub said.
A learning experience: Staub takes over after Bart Gibbon resigned at the end of last season. Gibbon took over the team for the past two seasons after current New Oxford High coach Nate Myers resigned in 2018.
The Nighthawks’ new coach said he applied for the position after Myers left and learned a lot through the process, although he didn’t get the job. It was the first time he interviewed for a high school head-coaching position and understood the school’s decision to go with Gibbon.
“Maybe they thought I wasn’t ready for it at that time, which is understandable,” Staub said. “I just stuck with it, just didn’t give up.”
Staub continued to coach the ninth-grade team and gained more experience. When the position opened up again, he used the lessons he learned from his first interview to land the gig.
“That process really helped,” Staub said. “I learned so much from that and coming into this interview I was a lot more confident and more prepared.”
Big season brewing: Staub is confident in Hanover's ability to continue the success it had last season, when it finished 13-11 and earned berths in the York-Adams League and District 3 Class 3-A playoffs. He believes the program will benefit from the familiarity between him, the coaching staff and the players.
“They know who I am, how I coach and what I’m about,” Staub said. “I know our kids really well. Every kid on that varsity and junior varsity team came through me at the ninth-grade level, so I know them all. I know how they play, I know what their tendencies are, I know their weaknesses and strengths and I feel that can be a tremendous help to us.”
The Nighthawks appear to be poised to have another strong campaign next year. Zyaire Myers (13.4 ppg), Kyle Garman (12.2 ppg) and Michael Killinger (11.1 ppg) all return as double-digit scorers. Myers was a Y-A D-III first-team all-star, while Garman and Killinger were on the second-team all-star squad.
Without the ability to spend in-person time with his players because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Staub said the plan is to tweak a few things, but make sure the transition is smooth for the players next season.
Although he doesn’t know exactly what his first season as a head coach will look like, Staub’s main goal for the campaign is to make the Nighthawks' gym a feared venue.
“We want Hanover to be a place where opposing teams don’t want to come,” Staub said.
Reach Rob Rose at email@example.com.