ASHTON — As a hard-working role player just a few short years ago in the Rochelle Township High School basketball program, Scott Stevens knew then he was meant to coach high school basketball.
Stevens, who played under Russ Zick and Tim Thompson during his time in a Hub uniform, has been serving as an assistant coach for Zick at Ashton-Franklin Center while also working on his teaching degree.
Now, the 2012 RTHS grad is ready to take the reins at AFC, after being named head coach by the district following Zick’s retirement.
“I’m really excited about this opportunity,” Stevens said on Friday. “I have been an assistant under coach Zick since the 2015 season, so I have coached all of these players and I feel that it will be a great experience for all of us together.”
Stevens is looking for the Raiders to improve on their 12-19 record from a year ago, but adds that he expects to implement a similar up-tempo style that Zick typically employed.
“I played and learned under coach Zick, so we will definitely look to push the ball up the court and I anticipate using a running style that would lead to quick transition baskets,” Stevens said. “I think we can do that with this team, but I also will certainly evaluate and adjust accordingly based on the match-ups and our strengths.”
Stevens has already been getting a good look during summer camp and the Sterling summer league, and is looking forward to start rolling in the late fall.
“Football is starting soon so we are winding down for the summer,” he added. “What I’ve seen here as a coach and also an aide at the school is that so many kids are three-sport athletes who also get involved in a lot of extra-curricular activities. It is a just a great positive atmosphere and these are great kids.”
Stevens expects to finish up his history degree and student teaching within the next year, and gives Zick a lot of credit for helping him gain coaching experience while still in college.
“I give coach Zick 100 percent credit in bringing me into the fold, welcoming with open arms and teaching me the ropes,” Stevens said. “I didn’t always get a lot of playing minutes in high school, but I feel like I’ve always been a student of the game and knew I had a desire to bring people together on the court and that I could coach.”