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Former Bulldog taking over boys basketball program

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These are exciting times for Zach Hahn.

Two months ago the former Butler University basketball player and his wife, Lindsey, learned they soon will become parents for the first time.

On Friday, Hahn was announced as new boys basketball coach at Center Grove High School.

Hahn, who turns 26 on May 11, has served the past three basketball seasons as varsity assistant at Ben Davis. He succeeds former Trojans coach Cliff Hawkins, who resigned in March after 10 seasons and a record of 126-94.

Born and raised in hoops-crazy New Castle, Hahn’s most-recent mentors have been former Butler and current Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens and Ben Davis coach Mark James.

Neither looks bad on one’s resumé.

“I couldn’t have asked for anyone better to learn from,” Hahn said of James, whose 483 victories places him ninth all-time in Indiana among active boys coaches.

“Some of the best things Mark teaches his kids are fundamentals. His players box out, they make their free throws, and they don’t turn the ball over.”

As for his age, Hahn sees it as a plus rather than weakness.

Hahn, who is expected to teach health and physical education at Center Grove, claims to be 25 in number only.

“I definitely see it as a positive thing. These players have seen what I’ve accomplished, and hopefully we’ll turn the program in a good direction. They’ll see my passion and energy for the game and notice I don’t act like a 25-year-old,” he said.

“I’m very focused and driven, and I want my kids to improve daily. I feel I’ve been exposed to great skill developers since I was in the eighth or ninth grade at New Castle. That’s really helped me with my coaching. I’ve been preparing for this for a long time.”

Hahn’s playing career proved quite the journey as the 2007 Indiana All-Star went on to help Butler advance all the way to the championship games of the 2010 and 2011 NCAA tournaments.

He played a total of 139 games for the Bulldogs with a career average of 4.3 points per game. As a senior Hahn reached double-figures on five occasions, topped by a 17-point performance in an 85-79 loss at Valparaiso.

Hahn figures a few thousand might have attended that game. A few weeks later he and his Bulldogs teammates were performing in front of 70,376 spectators at Houston’s Reliant Stadium in a 53-41 NCAA title-game loss to Connecticut.

He has sampled pressure before.

“I am extremely proud for the Center Grove School Corporation to be the place that jump-start’s Zach’s career as a varsity boys basketball coach in the state of Indiana,” Center Grove athletics director Jon Zwitt said.

“Confidence is high and expectations even higher that Zach will bring the same level of intensity and proficiency that he exhibited as a player.”

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