Delta has hired an external candidate to be its new boys basketball coach. But the Eagles didn’t have to look far, plucking a young assistant coach from a nearby geographic rival.
Ryan VanSkyock was unanimously approved by the school board on Tuesday night. VanSkyock has served eight years as an assistant coach at Jay County, and is a 2003 graduate of Jay County. He is a first-time varsity head coach.
“It means a lot,” VanSkyock said of getting the job. “Coach (Stan) Daugherty and Coach (Paul) Keller did a really great job in the 2000s with the group. And I’m just excited. It kind of reminds me of Jay County, the same kind of athletes and a good community. So really excited to get started and meet the players.”
VanSkyock said he plans to make Jay County’s emphasis on defense part of his philosophy at Delta as well. The Patriots are routinely among the top teams in the state in scoring defense.
Delta athletic director Shane Hill said VanSkyock’s background working for Craig Teagle at Jay County was a key selling point, but that he also expects VanSkyock to bring elements of his own system as well.
“We knew that basketball knowledge, preparation, all the things that Coach Teagle does well have been instilled in Ryan,” Hill said. “And we know he’s going to bring those with him and carry those on as positive traits and those sorts of things as he becomes a coach at Delta.”
Hill said he has a longtime familiarity with VanSkyock. When Hill became the football coach at Jay County, VanSkyock was a senior at the school.
“Ryan is a worker,” Hill said. “He understands the time commitment. He understands what it takes in order to be successful. He’s been one of those guys that has kind of worked himself into what he is today.”
The Eagles’ coaching position was vacant this offseason after Daugherty stepped down. Daugherty coached Delta for four seasons in his second stint at the school. Delta went 10-12 in the 2013-14 season, the year ending at sectionals with a loss to rival Yorktown.
VanSkyock will be a physical education teacher at Delta. He said he plans to meet with his new players today. Then, following a trip out of state for a coaching clinic, he will return to implement his team’s summer program.
“You think of Delta, you think one of the best basketball jobs in the state,” VanSkyock said. “They won a state championship in the early 2000s with Coach Keller, they went to semistate. To get that as a first head coaching job is a really great opportunity that I felt like I couldn’t pass.”