By KRIS MILLS – email@example.com
Becca Hoefler is ready to hit the ground running.
The Valparaiso native was named head coach of the Shelbyville girls’ basketball team Tuesday.
Hoefler, who graduated from Valparaiso High School and has spent a majority of her young coaching days at the school, takes over a program with just one winning season in the last 12 years.
With an energetic and positive demeanor, Hoefler was upbeat about her opportunity in a new community — a community she believes wants a great basketball program.
Hoefler cannot wait to get started, which will be sooner than later, she said.
“I think the community (made this job attractive),” Hoefler said. “It felt really great when I came down here. The community wants them to do well. I am excited about that.
“I have already started with our summer program. We are meeting the girls Monday and are going to start with our open gyms. The middle school is going to come to our open gyms, and we will have two elementary camps at the end of the summer.”
After high school, Hoefler played three seasons at IU South Bend. She coached one year in college as an assistant at South Bend Clay before going home.
In addition to her college experience as a basketball player, Hoefler, who coached Valpo’s JV team last season, has been around some of the best teams in high school basketball in recent years. Valparaiso’s varsity team played the 11th toughest schedule in the state, she said. Hamilton Southeastern, Fishers, Mt. Vernon (Fortville) and Crown Point, among others, were on the schedule for the Vikings, who were 9-14 this past season under head coach Candy Wilson.
“When I started with Candy at Valpo, (the program) was very low. Candy came in and we have been slowly building the Valpo program back up,” Hoefler. “It is at a place now where we have a lot of girls coming in who have played since fourth or fifth grade. What we built at Valpo, I am going to bring the same philosophies here.”
Hoefler, who will teach Physical Education at Shelbyville, mentioned defense — specifically keeping opposing teams off-balance by switching to different defenses — is part of her plan for the Golden Bears. SHS allowed 61.5 points per game last season.
“You will never see me sitting down during a game,” Hoefler said. “I am up and energetic. That is how I want my girls to be. If I am getting after it, you should be doing that and then some. I think defense wins you games. I will be hitting it hard with our defenses and different defenses. We will be switching it up. That is how I want to get at it. I think it will be a constant change all year.”
SHS was 4-20 during its 2018-19 campaign. Hoefler replaces Jason West, who spent four seasons as head coach.
The Golden Bears return junior guard Olivia Byrd, freshman guard Jaidyn Tackett, sophomore guard Megan Eads, sophomore forward Holly Hickman and junior guard Makayla Terrell next season, who all have experience at the varsity level.
Byrd averaged 8.0 points and 3.5 assists in 13 games this past season, while Tackett scored 5.3 ppg and grabbed 2.8 rpg. Tackett was 12 of 28 from the 3-point line in her first varsity season.
Raising the dedication level of these players and beyond, Hoefler said, will be critical to the success of the program. Just like with Valpo, she knows her new schedule will not be a walk in the park.
“I have known about Shelbyville for awhile now,” Hoefler said. “We played against them at DI Camps (in Fort Wayne). I know it is not easy down here. It is a tough conference and sectional. I think that is all the reason to be excited.
“There are a lot of girls energetic about the program. That is what I wanted to go into. I wanted to come to a program that is excited about girls basketball.”
Kris Mills is the Sports editor of The Shelbyville News. Follow Kris on Twitter @KrisMills37.