Hired from within: Boys assistant takes girls job at Center Grove

Most assistant coaches hope to become head coaches; Center Grove boys basketball assistant Kevin Stuckmeyer certainly planned on becoming one again.

He found the opportunity to do so without having to move.

On Thursday night, Stuckmeyer officially was approved as the new head coach of the Trojans’ girls basketball team. He replaces Shawn Sanders, who resigned after eight seasons in order to spend more time with his family.

“My ambition still led me to want to run my |own program,” Stuckmeyer said, “so when Shawn stepped down and it came open, I was just super excited to maybe have that opportunity to do it within the Center Grove school district and run the girls program.

“Just seeing the type of girls that we have at Center Grove, it seemed like it was the perfect fit for me.”

Stuckmeyer is in his fourth year teaching business at Center Grove and has been on the Trojans’ boys basketball staff that entire time, serving under Cliff Hawkins for one year before continuing with current head coach Zach Hahn.

Prior to arriving at Center Grove, Stuckmeyer had most recently served as a boys assistant at LaVille and Logansport. He also had been the boys head coach at Plymouth, posting a 31-38 record and leading his alma mater to a sectional title in 2010.

He graduated from Plymouth in 2001 before going on to play basketball at Grace College.

Center Grove athletics director Jon Zwitt pointed to Stuckmeyer’s prior head coaching experience, as well as his familiarity with the Trojans’ program, among the factors that made him the choice.

“I anticipate a smooth transition to the girls program,” Zwitt said. “I believe his leadership style, his prior head coaching experience at Plymouth, his familiarity with Center Grove and his demeanor will allow Kevin to quickly take the reins with conviction.”

Hahn, likewise, had nothing but good things to say.

“He’s a high basketball IQ guy and has a very strong and rich tradition in his background in basketball coming from Plymouth,” Hahn stated. “More than anything, he’s got a great sense of what he wants his program to look like and how it’s going to be ran, and I think he’s a really good leader.”

Stuckmeyer, meanwhile, was pulled in by a strong desire to remain a part of the Center Grove community but also by the track record of success that the girls have established under Sanders.

“That was a huge attraction to the program with what Shawn’s been able to achieve and put in place,” he said. “I think he’s done a tremendous job with the feeder program and getting that rolling. So there’ll be some things that we keep similar, but obviously when you start your own program, you’re definitely going to put your own stamp on it.”

The Trojans lose five seniors from a 14-9 team but return All-County standout Cassidy Hardin, an Indiana Junior All-Star and Purdue commit, along with rising junior guards Ella Thompson and Emma Utterback.

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Ryan O'Leary is sports editor for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at roleary@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2715.