Minutes after Travis Stangland met his West Central boys basketball players for the first time on Friday, the Trojans conducted an open gym.
Work ethic is one reason the former Rushville assistant is excited about his first head coaching position. West Central hired Stangland to succeed Bryan Heimlich, who stepped down after 10 seasons and a 117-105 record.
“There’s some talent coming back, and I’ve heard some good things from the conference coaches,” Stangland said. “I heard the kids were hard workers, and so far, I’ve liked what I’ve seen.”
Stangland is a 2002 Columbia City graduate. In 2001, the Eagles defeated Benton Central in a Class 3A semistate semifinal before losing to eventual state champion Muncie South in the semistate final.
He spent five seasons at Rushville, including the past three as the junior varsity coach. West Central athletic director Chuck Evans said Stangland will teach business education.
West Central is coming off of a pair of seven-win seasons but won two Class A sectionals and two Midwest Conference titles under Heimlich.
“Hopefully, we play our best basketball come March,” Stangland said.