York Catholic grad Nick Staab picked to lead Dover girls' basketball program
- Nick Staab was recently approved as the new girls' basketball head coach at Dover High School.
- Staab was an assistant coach for eight years with the York Suburban girls' program.
- Staab takes over a Dover program coming off a tumultuous 2017-2018 season.
It didn’t take Nick Staab very long to discover that playing basketball would not be his forte in life.
Well, that's another story for the 32 year-old York Catholic High School graduate.
“Athletically I was always below average when it came to basketball,” said Staab, who was recently hired as the new girls’ basketball head coach at Dover High School. “Basketball was not my first sport, but I did play basketball all the way up until 10th grade at York Catholic.”
Last year was a tumultuous one for the Dover girls' program. Head coach Kevin Glover was suspended for most of the the 2017-2018 season after the school's junior varsity coach, Aignee Freeland, was investigated for, and eventually arrested for, alleged institutional sexual assault against a 16-year-old Dover varsity player.
Freeland was eventually fired and her case is still proceeding through legal channels.
Glover was eventually cleared of any wrongdoing in the case, but opted not to return as Dover's head coach. After Glover's suspension, Tyler Smith led the Dover girls' program on an interim basis. The Eagles finished 13-11.
Staab has been an assistant coach for the York Suburban girls’ basketball program over the past eight seasons. While he's always loved the game, he's always been drawn to watching the coaches more than the players.
“As a young kid, watching the NCAA Tournament, I would always watch the coaches more than the players,” said Staab, who said golf was his primary athletic endeavor growing up. “Just to see how they would react and what type of plays they would call. Now I wouldn’t say that I’ve been preparing for this my entire life, but certainly for the past 10 years.”
His mentors: During that time, Staab was first hired by well-known area coach Bob Rudisill to help out at Suburban. The staff that Staab was a part of also included Jess Barley, who took over for Rudisill when he stepped down at Suburban following the 2010 season. Years later, Jay Rexroth, who is now the head coach of the Dallastown girls’ basketball team, was added to the Trojans staff.
Rudisill, Barley and Rexroth have all led their respective programs to the state playoffs and they're well-respected by their fellow coaches around the York-Adams League.
So it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that Staab learned a thing or two from all three of his mentors.
“Working at the Suburban program has really been outstanding in terms of just allowing me to observe and learn from some great coaches,” he said. “Obviously coach Barley is probably the one I learned the most from of those three. She’s been there the entirety of my time at Suburban and it’s been a great learning opportunity to watch how she acts with the players and how she strategically plans for opponents.”
While his time with Rudisill and Rexroth was much shorter, Staab feels working with both was highly beneficial.
“Watching such a legend like Bob (who recently retired as the Kennard-Dale girls' head coach) was certainly an eye-opening experience,” Staab said. “He really helped point me, as a young coach, in the right direction. And then having coach Rexroth, who was at Suburban for two years, he brought a fresh take to the program. Certainly those two had a big impact on me in terms of my development.”
While Staab was saddened to leave the Suburban program, he was very grateful to the district for allowing him to position himself for his new opportunity.
“I just want to express my gratitude for York Suburban,” he said. “It was a difficult decision to leave that program with the number of great coaches that have been there and the student-athletes.”
Upbeat about future: Staab, who resided in the Dover school district previously and whose parents still live in the district, sounded upbeat about his future with an Eagles program that will have a new head coach for the fifth time over the past six seasons.
“It’s nice to know that I’m going to an equally good school district,” he said.
One take that Staab learned from his mentors was to never dampen expectations. While the Dover program that he inherits will not feature all-state standout Rajah Fink, who graduated this year, that fact will not have any impact on his goals for the squad. Fink led the York-Adams League in scoring at 25.2 points per game. She's committed to play NCAA Division II basketball for Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
“I think as coaches it is our job to have high expectations regardless of the circumstances,” he said. “I certainly don’t want to play down to anyone else’s low expectations. I don’t see any way that we would come in with expectations that are any less just because a player or two graduated.”
Getting to know his players: Since getting approved by the school board two weeks ago, Staab only recently had an opportunity to meet his new players last Thursday. Because of the holiday weekend, he won’t have a chance to see them on the court for the first time until after school Tuesday.
“Truthfully I have no idea,” he said of what type of style he figures to employ next season. “When I met with the team (Thursday) it was a whirlwind. I haven’t even had an open gym yet and met most of the players, but not all of them yet.”
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.