Waynesfield-Goshen High School varsity boys basketball coach Jack Hayzlett instructs one of his players during a practice Thursday in the WGHS gymnasium in Waynesfield. (Staff photo/Brad Frank)
WAYNESFIELD — Jack Hayzlett is doing something he set out to do since high school: be a head coach for a high school basketball program.
That was his intention when he attended The Ohio State University to become a teacher as a career.
It never came to fruition at the time, but he now has the chance.
Hayzlett, a Wapakoneta resident, was hired in May to be the varsity boys basketball head coach for Waynesfield-Goshen High School.
“I wanted to coach (after college) but I took a business job,” he said. “I never fulfilled that coaching. About 15 years ago, I started getting back into coaching locally. That’s what made me want to do (apply for the W-G coaching position), going back to my high school days wanting to be a coach at that point.”
Hayzlett is not starting his coaching career with his new position with the W-G Tigers.
He was an assistant coach for one year, in 1980, at The Ohio State University, Lima, and Hayzlett said he has also coached AAU teams in about 700 games from the fifth- and sixth-grade level through varsity. Last season, he was an assistant coach for the Wapakoneta High School varsity boys basketball team.
With his own basketball program for the first time, Hayzlett explained what philosophies under which he will operate as a head coach.
“I want to teach (the players) to be gracious at winning and losing. If we win or lose, it’s just a game,” he said. “Other than that, my goal is to have a little more fun. My underlying theory is that coaches have taken a lot of the fun out of the sport. It all has become about winning, and, if you don’t win, there’s no fun. I’m first to admit everybody wants to win but I think you can play a style of basketball you can enjoy.
“Also, I want to teach the kids an old style basketball that allows to adjust on their own without calling a play.”
In terms of given the Tigers an identity during games, Hayzlett said he has three goals to accomplish as their coach.
“In talking with the school board, there was three things I wanted to work on,” Hayzlett said. “First, I wanted to teach the kids how to attack more. In any sport, the more aggressive team is probably gonna come out the winner more frequently. Second, I also want to teach them how to “go get the ball.” Our goal is going to be to score 60 points a game. To do that in today’s style of game, we need to get the ball as many times as possible. That goes back to aggressiveness. Finally, teamwork.”
Identifying teamwork, Hayzlett referenced how the San Antonio Spurs played during the NBA Finals last month against the Miami Heat.
“San Antonio played together as a team,” he said. “I don’t know if that result will always happen, but they were playing more like a team. That’s how I’d like the kids to play. There might be some better skilled teams and better skilled players, but, if we play as a team, we can do better.”
To serve in his new coaching position, Hayzlett will make frequent trips to Waynesfield this winter, adding to his already hefty schedule in Wapakoneta.
In addition to a full-time job at Fifth Third Bank, Hayzlett serves as director of Wapakoneta City Parks and Recreation and general manager of Wapakoneta WaterPark.
Hayzlett and the Tigers finished their summer schedule Thursday.
A few of his players will set their eyes on the upcoming football season, while Hayzlett will be waiting idly until winter when his first chance to test his lifelong dream arrives.
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