ARCANUM – For the first time in his lengthy coaching career, Michael Dean will be a head girls basketball coach.
The Richmond, Ind., native was recently hired to lead the Arcanum program and he couldn’t be more excited, he said.
“I am super excited to get started with this group of young, talented players,” Dean said. “This opportunity means everything to me. Arcanum is a great school with great community support and a great tradition. To be able to have my first head coaching opportunity at a place like this, I think any coach would be humbled.”
Dean has coached at all levels in girls basketball for the last 20 years. He’s done AAU, junior high and has been a varsity assistant coach for the last 10 years at Union City (Ind.), where the Indians finished as the Class A state runners-up in 2017. He helped coach girls basketball at Ansonia last year.
Dean does have head coaching experience as the softball coach at Winchester (Ind.), Union City (Ind.) and Mississinawa Valley. He also has helped coach football at Union City (Ind.), Mississinawa Valley, Richmond (Ind.) and Anderson Heights (Ind.).
“I’ve learned a lot from all the places I’ve been,” Dean said. “When you look at the good programs you see the commitment those coaches and players put into it and that is why they are so successful.
“But it’s not just on the court,” he continued. “It’s also in how they conduct their lives off the court. It’s not just about having a better understanding of the game, but more about learning those life lessons and that is my goal at Arcanum. I want to build that type of program.”
Dean takes a over a team that went 12-11 a year ago and finished 8-4 in sixth place in the Cross County Conference. The Trojans graduated one senior – Elle Siculan who was a 5-foot-3 guard – and return their top three scoring leaders in juniors Kayla O’Daniel, Gracie Garno and Camille Pohl. O’Daniel, a 5-7 forward, averaged 11.1 points and 5.4 rebounds per game as a sophomore. She was named to the CCC first team and was a Division III Southwest District honorable mention player. Garno, a 5-6 forward, scored at a rate of 8.8 points per game. She also averaged 3.1 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game last season. Garno received postseason recognition as well being named to the CCC special mention players list. Pohl, a 5-8 guard, averaged 6.2 points and 5.5 rebounds per game.
Dean was able to meet with his players shortly after they competed in the Tri-Village Shootout. He did watch them from the stands at that event and then was with them at the Troy Shootout a week later, he said.
“I was very impressed with their talent and attitude and I can tell that they are a team already,” Dean said. “This is a strong group of young, talented players that are well rounded and capable of playing the quick, aggressive style of basketball that I want to bring here.”
Not only did Dean learn about the coaching profession at some of his stops along the way, but he grew up in a coaching household. His father, Bill Dean, was a longtime coach in football and wrestling in Indiana. Dean said his father is enshrined in the Indiana Wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame.
“My dad always taught me to never stop learning,” Dean said. “So I’ve tried to learn from every coach I’ve worked with. But he also taught me it’s not just about athletics. It’s about being a guide to your players. You have to provide them some structure and prepare them for the world. You have to teach them those life lessons and that’s what makes a good program because being better people makes them better athletes.
“People don’t realize the kind of influence coaches can have on kids,” he continued. “You spend so much time with them in school and that’s a honor I take very seriously as a coach.”
Dean was an athlete himself in high school. He played football, baseball and wrestling for three years at Richmond before transferring to National Trail for his senior year where he played football, basketball and baseball.
Dean said he has nine of his 10 coaching days remaining this summer and plans to hold some practices next week.
The Daily Advocate sports editor Skip Weaver can be reached at (937) 569-4316 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @skipweaver65.