JIM HUNSLEY: Coaching stability possible for Wheeler soccer

2012-09-05T17:00:00Z 2012-09-05T20:23:12Z JIM HUNSLEY: Coaching stability possible for Wheeler soccerJim Hunsley Times Columnist nwitimes.com
September 05, 2012 5:00 pm  • 

I guess I'm pretty fortunate, playing a high school sport with just one head coach.

I believe it's been a somewhat different world for Wheeler soccer players Alexa Fratzke and Ben Nettels, both Bearcats seniors are under the tutelage of a fourth varsity coach in four years.

With that said, both players don't want anyone's pity. It's just something they've learned to deal with.

"You just have to adjust," Fratzke said.

Nettels told me that it's not like no one has wanted to coach them.

"We've been pretty successful," he said.

Actually, both teams have done pretty well for themselves in these four years. The boys won the program's first sectional crown last season, and they played in the one-class sectional championship the previous year.

On the girls side, the Bearcats made the sectional championship game in each season.

This year, the boys are 3-2 -- winners of three straight -- and the girls are 7-1 -- the lone loss coming to Times No. 2 Griffith.

"It's been a concern," Wheeler athletics director Randy Stelter said. "Coaches have come and gone for a variety of reasons, mostly due to their regular job. They are not able to sustain the schedule and as lay coaches, they cannot always do the job we expect for our athletes."

New boys coach Dave Bock is also a teacher in the school system, which wasn't the case the other three situations. Girls coach Bryan Murray is not a teacher in the system, but he is the former coach at LaPorte.

"I am hopeful that we have a coach in place that will continue to improve our program and its consistency with having him at the helm for a long time," Stelter said. "Bryan is also a huge addition. ... He comes with a great background. I hope he will also make the commitment for longevity.

"Our coaches in the past have done a great job. Let's hope we finally have some stability."

I believe that will be the case. While doing a Wheeler girls feature a few weeks ago, Murray talked about the great freshman class and his desire to break the recent coaching tradition.

"I want consistency and fluidity," he said. "I'm trying to gain their trust."

Bock, who played at Andrean, is a recent graduate of Benedictine University. I can see him wanting to construct something in his first varsity stint.

I believe their commitment can also be seen by the fact both are implementing new systems, Murray employing a 4-4-2 and Bock an interesting 3-5-2. It's like they want to have their own stamp on their respective programs.

Players have shown the ability to adapt to new styles, and maybe now this stability could lead to even greater successes.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at jim.hunsley@nwi.com.

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