PIQUA — Bruce Vanover has much success coaching boys and girls basketball wherever he has been.
And his newest challenge may be his biggest yet — but, Vanover is more than willing to take on that challenge.
Vanover will accept the position as Piqua girls varsity basketball coach this week pending board approval, replacing Greg Justice who resigned.
During a coaching career that includes Lehman Catholic boys and Graham and Miami East girls, Vanover has a record of 214 wins and 140 losses.
He has a record 101-37 record in conference games and 23-15 in the postseason.
Vanover coached Miami East to a 17-7 record this past season and takes over a Piqua program that has gone 7-38 over the last two seasons.
“I think it was time for a change,” Vanover said about taking the Piqua job. “I felt like it was a nice little opportunity to coach at the Division I program.”
Vanover knows the first key is to increase numbers in the program.
Piqua has struggled to keep a JV team going the last couple years, but they are hardly alone in that area.
“You know as well as I do that numbers are down all over the state,” Vanover said. “I don’t think it is a Piqua problem. It is a problem throughout the state. There are just a lot of other things for kids to do. But, I definitely want to build a strong JV program, along with the youth and junior high programs. That is important wherever you coach.”
Vanover said it is about building relationships with the young athletes he will coach.
“We want to get more girls out for the program,” he said. “You do that by building relationships with them. I will be there supporting them when they are playing soccer, volleyball or whatever it may be. You show them that you care. As you build those relationships, that word spreads to others.”
Vanover has already put a plan together for the summer as he looks to build the program.
“There are no specifics, but I have a general idea,” Vanover said. “When I meet with them (his team) this week, I will go over them my plan and want we want to do. I know kids are involved in a lot of different activities. We don’t expect them to give us the whole summer. But, there are certain things we want to get done.”
Vanover is familiar with many of the teams in the MVL — including the Miami Division that includes Troy, Tippecanoe, Butler and Greenville, along with Sidney in the Valley division.
“I am pretty familiar with all those schools,” Vanover said. “I coached against Troy, Tipp and Butler — everyone knows if I had an off night and Troy had a game, I was there watching.”
And Vanover can’t wait to get started.
“One of the great things is I only live 10 minutes from the school,” Vanover said. “So, if somebody wants in the gym to play, I am close by. I am ready to get to work. And the good thing is as I have gotten older, I have become a lot more patient. I think having grandchildren has made me more patient.”
And Vanover can’t wait to put his stamp on his newest challenge.