ANSONIA – After spending the past four seasons as an assistant coach at St. Henry, Chad Cramer is back to lead the Ansonia boys basketball program again.
Cramer spent 10 years coaching basketball at Ansonia including seven seasons as the head coach of the varsity boys basketball team. He coached Ansonia’s girls basketball team during the 2010-11 season before going to St. Henry the past four years.
“It’s exciting,” Cramer said about returning to coach at Ansonia. “It’s a new challenge. It’s a different opportunity than I’ve had the last few years.”
Even while coaching at St. Henry, Cramer remained a teacher at Ansonia. He’s taught at Ansonia for the past 14 years so he still has good relationships with the basketball players even though he’s been away from the program for five years.
“I’ve really enjoyed teaching the kids,” he said. “That was one of the reasons to come back is how much I enjoyed having some of these kids that are still out here in the program. They kind of know me. I know them.”
While there is some familiarity between Cramer and his players, he hasn’t seen enough of them on the court to know what the Tigers have in their program.
“Defense will be the main focus this summer,” he said. “But to be honest with you, I haven’t seen a ton of them so I don’t want to make a bunch of bold statements about what they can do and can’t do.
“Right now I’m looking at us just playing hard and playing the right way.”
Cramer has some ideas about what style he would like to play but is waiting to commit to any schemes as he gets a better feel for what the team can do.
“The one thing I do know is we’re going to have to work hard,” he said. “I know they’ve had some success in the junior high program the last couple years. But for that to continue to the high school level, we’re going to have to work. That’s the way it works at every school.”
During his four years at St. Henry, Cramer helped lead the team to two Midwest Athletic Conference championships including a league title this past season. He learned a lot during his time with the MAC’s most successful boys basketball program.
“Coach (Eric) Rosenbeck is one of the best coaches in the area so I had four years of watching him,” Cramer said. “The competition is great. It was a fun league to play in because the parity it’s just … it was every night. There’s a lot of really good coaches in that league. There’s a lot of really good coaches in this league, too.”
Cramer will get some help in coaching from a couple of familiar faces. Jason Hemmelgarn and Craig Riethman, who both coached with Cramer in Ansonia and St. Henry, will return to assist the Tigers this upcoming season.
As he begins his second go-around as Ansonia’s boys basketball coach, Cramer said he’s glad to be back.
“I think I always kind of knew I would come back at some point in time,” Cramer said. “My two oldest boys are old enough to be managers now and come out and help out. It just kind of worked out to be the right time.”