VALPARAISO | Returning home to work for one of the most successful basketball programs in the country was a dream come true for Jake Diebler.
Diebler, a Valparaiso men's basketball assistant coach, is leaving to become the video coordinator at Ohio State. The Upper Sandusky native played four years for the Crusaders and then spent four years in various coaching capacities, including the last two as an assistant to Bryce Drew.
Diebler hopes to become a Division I head coach. After working under Bryce and Homer Drew, he is excited to work for Thad Matta and in the Big Ten.
“Bryce is a dear friend, someone I looked at as a mentor and almost like an older brother,” Diebler said. “The first thing I did was call him. I talked to Homer Drew and he’s been like a father figure to me. I felt almost a part of the extended Drew family.”
Diebler arrived in Valparaiso in 2005 and endeared himself to the fan base by displaying a never-quit intensity on the floor. He became known for the face mask he wore after breaking his nose playing basketball.
“I want to thank the people in Valparaiso,” Diebler said. “I got to know so many nice people; some of those that sat in the front row I formed some special bonds with. I’ll miss the people the most.”
In accepting the new job, Diebler sought advice from Homer and Bryce Drew as well as the pastoral staff at Calvary Church. Everyone told him to make a pro-and-con list and then he weighed his options.
“Probably one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made,” Diebler said. “The reason was because of how close I was to the other coaches, the players on the team and the relationships I’ve had in the community. From a people standpoint it was such a challenge.”
“It will be challenging because I’ll be going from coaching to being a bit more behind-the-scenes,” he said. “I love to get between the lines with the guys and I won’t be able to do that. This gives me an opportunity to expand my overall knowledge of basketball.”
Diebler's brother, Jon, starred at Ohio State from 2007 to 2011 before being drafted by the Portland Trailblazers.
Drew doesn't have a timetable for Diebler's replacement.
"It could be next week, could be a couple weeks from now," Drew said. "We're looking for the right fit for our staff and someone that will fit in with the chemistry of our players."