UL grad lands Buckeye Trail boys hoops coaching post

OLD WASHINGTON – Anytime there’s a coaching change, the incoming boss hopes for as smooth of a transition as he can get.

Since Darin Wilson was already familiar with the Buckeye Trail boys’ basketball program, it’s been absolutely no issue whatsoever since his hiring late last month.

“I’ve been overseeing the summer program and since I was the junior varsity coach, it was just a matter of getting the formality (of being hired) out of the way,” Wilson said.

Wilson takes over the reins to a Warriors’ program that’s been very steady under Rod Gray’s watch during the last several years. Gray and his chief assistant, Chris Starr, stepped down following last season.

“I learned a lot from both Coach Gray and Coach Starr,” Wilson said. “Both really took me under their wings the last few years. They’ve let me do the little things to help me understand what it involves to be a varsity coach.”

During the summer workouts, both Gray and Staff have popped into some of the Warriors’ workouts to offer up as much guidance to the new head coach as possible.

“They’ve let me know some things that I’ve done well and pointed out some areas where I can improve what I am doing,” Wilson said.

Wilson is a 2004 graduate of Union Local High School and owns a degree in Middle Childhood Education from Muskingum University. He’s currently a middle school math teacher at Buckeye Trail. That’s a position he’s held for five years.

“I am pretty excited about the opportunity,” Wilson said. “We’re going to be young, but the guys have really been working hard this summer.”

Young might be an understatement for the 2014-15 Warriors, who graduated all 11 of their varsity players from last season.

“We won’t have a senior on this year’s team, but we’ll have five juniors and a good many sophomores,” Wilson said. “(Varsity basketball) is going to be pretty new for a lot of the kids and myself.”

Since Wilson has been teaching at Trail, he’s gotten to know many of the players as they’ve grown up in the system, which also has helped ease the transition.

“I have a good relationship with most of the kids already,” Wilson admitted.

To help get their feet wet for varsity basketball, the Warriors spent much of June in summer league play and taking part in shootouts.

“The kids have been playing pretty well,” Wilson said. “It took them a while to get up to the speed of the varsity game, but we’ve been competitive. It’s been a good experience to see the kids raise their level of play to get used to the speed of the game.”

Along with serving under Gray the last five seasons, Wilson also has experience in girls’ basketball. He worked under Drew Greenwood at Union Local prior to arriving in Old Washington.

As for what you can expect from Wilson’s team will be a mixture of what he’s learned from his aforementioned mentors.

“We’re going to be a man team (defensively) and run mostly motion-oriented offense, whether it’s open post or four out, one in,” Wilson said. “We want to do the little things right and be very fundamental.”

Wilson has already started the process of building a coaching staff. John Rome, Donnie Kerns and Shane Stephens have all committed to the staff, but Wilson still has an opening to fill.