By Ken Barhorst
Sidney High School athletic director Mitch Hoying went with planning over experience when it came to selecting a new head girls basketball coach.
Hoying said that Lauren Stefancin, a 22-year-old who will graduate with this year’s class from Capital University, has been hired as a teacher at the school, and as the person to fill the void left when Megan Mummey stepped down as the head girls coach following a successful six-year run.
Stefancin is a graduate of Mentor High School in northeast Ohio, playing basketball all four years, including as a starter from her sophomore season on. She said she even quit soccer her sophomore year to devote her time to basketball.
She then signed to play basketball at Capital, but decided after one season to focus on her school work.
“I played one year at Capital where we won the (Ohio Athletic Conference) and lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament,” Stefanin said via email from overseas, where she is continuing her studies. “I only played one year due to focusing more on my school work. I was highly focused on studying abroad and also doing many things within the community, and basketball just didn’t fit into that schedule.”
Though she hasn’t been a head coach before, she said the has “been through every system possible.”
“Most of my coaching experience comes from coaching summer league for high school and youth camps,” she said. “I’ve been through every system possible, such as youth league, tournament league, AAU, etc. I have also helped coach the (junior varsity) team at Mentor. Many of my coaching experiences have come from my high school coach, Steve Thompson, trusting in me to coach his teams.”
She has some big shoes to fill — Mummey won 95 games in her six years, making her the third winningest girls basketball coach in school history. But Stefancin is excited.
“I’m ecstatic,” she said. “I know some people may be questioning me based on how young I am. Yes, I’m 22 years old and the head coach now. But although I’m young, my basketball IQ has developed greatly over the years. Between the many coaches, the players, and trainers, I have learned so much. And I am always looking for new ways to coach and develop players. So I am constantly researching and practicing new techniques.”
Hoying, meanwhile, was looking for some specific things in terms of coaching and said Stefancin “knocked it out of the park.”
“We had a solid pool of candidates, and at the end of the day, Lauren had a pretty detailed plan,” Hoying said. “She doesn’t have a lot of experience, but she has a strong development plan for the kids and the program.”
Stefancin will meet with the players on May 8 at the high school, Hoying said.