After one year at the helm of the boys basketball program in Ayersville, Pilot grad Anthony Jackson departed in mid-September to take an assistant coaching position at his college alma mater, Defiance College.
The Pilots didn’t have to look far for his replacement. In fact, it was sitting next to him the entire time.
2018-19 varsity assistants Dave Retcher and Logan Wolfrum were named co-head coaches for the varsity boys this season at a special board meeting on Wednesday evening, setting up the staff for the upcoming season.
Both Ayersville graduates, the move provides stability for the program with the season opener at Patrick Henry on Dec. 6 not far away.
“Logan and Dave, obviously they’re no stranger to the program and Logan playing and graduating from here,” said Ayersville athletic director Rob Luderman of the choice to tab the pair as co-head coaches. “When you’re from the program, you want to see it succeed and when you’re at a point where you can help that growth happen, you want to be a part of it. But along with that is a lot of time commitment.
“Dave getting back in it last year was great to see and I felt like it was a good mix. Some of the things Dave felt comfortable with and would excel at were things where Logan might need some assistance and vice versa. It was just kind of a natural pairing.”
Wolfrum, a 2009 Ayersville grad and 2013 Defiance College grad, starred on both the prep and college hardwood for the Pilots and Yellow Jackets and served as an assistant a year ago under Jackson.
“Ayersville is a special place to my family and I,” said the former all-stater at Ayersville. “My wife and I both graduated from Ayersville, my son currently goes to school there and my wife is a teacher there. The administration and community are supportive, and I believe we have a great group of young men in our program.
“When Rob approached me about this idea, I thought if Coach Retcher was in, I was going to be all in.”
Wolfrum currently serves as an assistant vice president and commercial services officer at State Bank in Defiance. The former Yellow Jacket left DC as the program’s second all-time leading scorer and the leading scorer in the Division III era with 1,813 career points to go along with 392 career assists (third all-time) and 202 made 3-pointers (fifth all-time).
Wolfrum was also a two-time all-Ohio performer for Ayersville under head coach Marv Retcher and assistant coach Dave, who also served as an assistant in Marv’s tenure at Ayersville from 2005-09 and for a year under Retcher’s successor Jaymes Zachrich.
The option to split the position between the two is not unprecedented, as Hicksville – among other schools – has gone that route in past years.
“It is a unique position to have co-head coaches, but Coach Retcher and I sat down and discussed this and believe it is the right fit, noted Wolfrum. “I have known Coach Retcher for many years and admire his passion for the game. With that, he is a great teacher of the game and has a great knowledge base. I believe with Dave’s coaching experience and my past playing experience, we will feed off each other and be a great duo to lead our program.”
Added Luderman: “You don’t typically see co-head coaches but for decades at Hicksville, they had co-head coaches. They’re both high quality guys that are great leaders and motivators. You combine them with coach Dales, all three are going to work well together. I’m really excited about it and I think that we found some great candidates to prepare our kids not only on the basketball court but in the community and in their lives.”
Joe Ewers was approved as freshman coach in the meeting and JV coach Chris Dales will remain in his current role.
Retcher, a Paulding High School graduate, served as a varsity assistant for the Panthers’ girls hoops program and in their junior high program in the 1990s.
“I’m very familiar with the kids and they work really hard,” said Retcher. “We’ve got a lot of good kids coming back. I just love to coach the kids and they needed some stability in the program.”
In terms of the goals for the season and program going forward, Wolfrum professed a simple approach.
“Dave and I had this discussion and it sounds cliché, but we want our young men to come to work to get better every day,” said Wolfrum. “On the basketball court, in the classroom and in their lives, they should strive to reach their fullest potential. I know first hand while playing under Coach Retcher in high school and now coaching with him the past two years, he truly wants what is best for each player in our program.”
Added Retcher: “We’re definitely going to put our own stamp on it and change a few things but our main focus is to try and improve every practice and every game. It’s not just about playing ball, it’s about improving in life as well.”
The Pilots lose seven seniors from the 2018-19 roster, including leading scorer Jacob Berner (8.1 ppg) but return second-leading scorer Brayden Amoroso (7.3 ppg as a sophomore) and leading rebounder Trevor Okuley (4.6 rpg) for the upcoming year.