NEW MADISON – Mackenzie Perry faced the challenges of trying to build a basketball program at Bradford, and now he’ll face the challenges of maintaining tradition at Tri-Village.
Tri-Village announced the hiring of Perry as its new boys basketball coach on Monday. He officially will be named the program’s coach pending board approval at Tri-Village’s July school board meeting
“Being over that Tri-Village is an opportunity, and right now I’m just excited for the challenge and excited for the opportunity,” Perry said. “It’s a good job with a great tradition. I’m looking forward to the challenge of keeping that up.”
Perry previously served as an assistant boys basketball coach at Troy Christian. The past two years he was the head boys basketball coach at Bradford.
At Bradford Perry inherited a program that went 0-23 in 2014-15, the year before he arrived. In his two years leading the Railroaders Perry guided Bradford to a 4-40 record, winning two games each season.
“You had to change the mindset of feeling a certain way and maybe not feeling like you can compete,” Perry said of the challenges at Bradford. “You have to have them believe they can win.”
At Tri-Village Perry will face new challenges, which he expects will be equally hard.
The Patriots are coming off a season in which they reached the sweet 16 of the Ohio High School Athletic Association tournament. They have won the Cross County Conference championship four of the past five seasons and won the 2015 OHSAA Division IV state championship.
Joining a program that’s had so much success, Perry knows there will be a lot of pressure to continue winning.
“I can’t wait to help out and help them accomplish their goals,” Perry said of joining Tri-Village. “It will be an extra challenge that’s nothing that I or my team can’t overcome.”
Along with the expectations of winning, Perry will face other challenges at Tri-Village.
The Patriots’ top three scorers last season – Trace Couch, Gavin Richards and Jonny Wilson – all have graduated. The team’s fourth leading scorer, Dillon McCullough, is transferring to Tri-County North for his senior season, leaving just one returning starter on the Tri-Village roster, Jared Buckley.
And not being hired until July is giving Perry and his relatively inexperienced team a late start to preparing for the upcoming season.
“They’ll still get a feel for me and how I like to coach,” he said. “I get to implement a little of my offense.”
The team already had some scrimmages in June and still can have some open gym time in July, but the timing isn’t ideal, Perry said.
The timing was thrown off because Tri-Village initially hired Andrew Bobalik, the head coach at Hebron Lakewood, to be its varsity boys basketball coach following Josh Sagester’s decision to step down. However, Bobalik resigned the position shortly after accepting it.
At Tri-Village Perry isn’t focused on winning a certain number of games. Instead he’s putting his attention on competing and seeking consistent improvement.
“I know for a fact that my goal is to always push these boys to be the best that they can be every game and throughout the season and just to get better every day,” said Perry, a fifth grade teacher at Northridge.
Having coached with Ray Zawadski at Troy Christian, Perry has seen what it takes to be successful, and he hopes to implement those lessons at Tri-Village.
“I know being over at Troy Christian that allowed me to see how hard it is and how to do it the right way,” Perry said.
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.