Stu Hartenstein has a vision for the West Jefferson High School boys basketball team and he’ll get a chance to implement it after being hired as the new coach of the Roughriders.
Hartenstein was approved by the Jefferson Local School Board during its monthly meeting Monday, May 12.
Roughriders director of athletics Shawn Buescher said he really liked what he heard from Hartenstein and how he carried himself during the entire interview process.
“He came in with a great vision and a process on how he was going to get there,” Buescher said. “He’s an extremely organized person and has a plan and we feel like he’s the best person for the job.”
Hartenstein, 26,comes to West Jeff after serving as an assistant coach on the varsity squad at Olentangy Orange High School under coach Anthony Calo.
Buescher knows it’s going to take time for the new coach to implement his system and get everyone on board, but is convinced that he’ll have success with the Roughriders.
“He’ll come in and will make sure everyone understands his vision and he’ll work hard in putting that plan in place,” the athletic director said.
This past season the Roughriders basketball team struggled through a disappointing 4-19 campaign, which ended with a first round Division III district tournament loss to North Union.
Buescher is fully confident in the fact that his new basketball coach is taking over a program with talented athletes who are ready to work and learn a new system.
“If you look across all the sports right now we’re competing at a high level,” he said. “We’ve also had a lot of success with our boys basketball program in recent years. The talent base is in place and I fully expect Coach Hartenstein to have success here. He’s the right man for the job.”
Hartenstein is just one of three recent varsity coaching hires at West Jefferson. The school named Ken Schaefer as the wrestling coach and Jason Phillips as the new girls soccer coach at the April school board meeting.
Schaefer was an assistant under coach Nick Christopher and will now take the reins of a highly successful program as the longtime coach is retiring.
“Our wrestling program has had a lot of success recently,” Buescher said. “We’ve won league titles, won a district a couple years ago and our wrestlers have competed well in the district.
“Ken Schaefer has been involved with the program, he’s been able to see a successful program operate from the inside and we think he will do a tremendous job as the head coach.”
Having worked within the program and knowing exactly what he has to work with should help smooth the transition from one coach to another. The Roughriders won the MSL Ohio Division championship this past season.
“He definitely won’t have to worry about the whole meet and greet thing,” Buescher said. “He’s familiar with our young men and the young men in the community. I think that’s a huge advantage for him as he takes over the program.”
Another coach who will have the benefit of not having to go through a lengthy introduction process is new Roughriders girls soccer coach Jason Phillips. He was an assistant on last year’s West Jeff team that went 9-7-1 and is scheduled to return nearly its entire lineup this fall.
“He was on the sidelines last year and is very familiar with our program,” Buescher said. “Jason is going to work hard to continue to grow our program and we felt good staying in-house with this hire.”
The fact that so many players are expected back and that they’re comfortable with the new coach should bode well for West Jeff this fall.
“We hope he’ll continue to develop the kids and get the most out of them.”
Chris Miles can be reached at (740) 852-1616, ext. 18 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.