Reasbeck hired as SJC boys coach

BELLAIRE – Dave Reasbeck has been away from coaching for two years after spending eight as a head coach of the Martins Ferry girls’ program.

He started to feel the itch to get back into it during this past season when his wife, Danielle, was an assistant for the Lady Riders.

“She asked me every day, ‘why am I doing this and you’re not?’,” Reasbeck said. “I started listening to her.”

Listening to his wife, the itch and the chance to be a boys’ head coach was just too much to resist.

Thus, Reasbeck accepted the position as head boys’ basketball coach at St. John Central and formally met with his new team Wednesday afternoon during a meeting at the high school.

“When I (stepped down at Martins Ferry) two years ago, I said then that I wasn’t done (coaching), but I wanted to move to boys” Reasbeck said. “As time went on, like in the middle of last season, I really started wanting my own team again.”

Reasbeck takes over an Irish program that showed some signs of improvement the last couple of seasons under Kevin Lahna, who wasn’t retained after two-plus years on the job.

“I see a good opportunity here,” Reasbeck said. “I’d be mad at myself if I didn’t take this job. This program was a win or so shy of qualifying for the OVAC (Tournament) last year, so I jumped at the chance.”

Being away from the game for a couple of seasons has re-charged Reasbeck. And shifting back to coaching boys, which he did for several years at Martins Ferry, has also given him a lift.

“I am much more suited coaching boys, and I learned things both on and off the court during the two years where I didn’t coach,” Reasbeck said. “My first couple of years if we lost, it was like the end of the world, but I’m not totally like that anymore. I can’t wait to get into the gym.”

Reasbeck is well aware of St. John’s struggles and recent turnover of basketball coaches, but during his meeting with the team, he stressed that what’s happened in the past is nothing, but in the past.

“I don’t know about what’s gone here the last five or 10 years, and I don’t want to know about it,” Reasbeck said. “We’re going to start in May or June and build every day. We’re not going to go undefeated, but I am not expecting to lose every game either. We’re going to compete in every practice and every drill and try to build into the kids that losing isn’t an option.”

The Fighting Irish finished the season with a 6-16 record, but were led by a talented freshman in Guy Pagano, who was an all-Times Leader selection.

“I am going with high expectations,” Reasbeck said. “Why would you want to do anything with low expectations? We’re just going to build every day and see where it goes. I know the cupboard here isn’t totally bare, but I’ve also never seen them play, so I don’t know exactly what I have. I plan to implement my system, utilize our strengths and see what happens.”

Reasbeck, who guided the Lady Riders to an OVAC Tournament title and a trip to the championship game during his tenure, will remain as a teacher at Martins Ferry.

“The only hesitancy (to accept the job) was my job at Martins Ferry,” Reasbeck said. “Once I got that cleared, I thought, ‘let’s go see what we can do.’ “

While he begins the process of finalizing the Irish schedule, which still needs four games, Reasbeck has finalized his coaching staff. Jack Becker – another former Martins Ferry standout – and Tube Davis, who is the father of recently hired Irish head football coach Jose Davis, will serve as the assistants.

“Those guys jumped at the chance (to coach),” Reasbeck said. “I didn’t even finish asking them and they said, ‘yes, we’re in.’ They’re just as excited as I am about the opportunity.”

The schedule no longer includes Bishop Donahue, Paden City or Bellaire. The Irish have scheduled Bridgeport, which means a meeting between Reasbeck and his long-time friend, Donnie Cash, and River.

“We’re having teams drop us because we’re not good enough, which is something we have to change,” Reasbeck said. “Our goal is after game, we want to make sure teams just don’t walk in the gym and get a win. They have to remember who they played, had to battle and work for it.”

Reasbeck becomes the Irish’s second coaching hire in less than a month. Jose Davis was hired as head football coach last month after a successful stint at his alma mater, Bellaire.