The Wright City boys basketball program will have its third head coach in three years next season, as Ryan Benz takes over the job this summer.
Benz, a Pleasant Hill (Ill.) native, most recently worked at Union High School.
He is a graduate of Quincy University (Quincy, Ill.) and coached for five years at Pleasant Hill.
“I have always wanted to be a coach,” Benz said, “and getting the opportunity to get back into it was definitely appealing.”
After moving to Wentzville in March, Benz was able to cut a significant portion of his daily commute.
But less time in the car wasn’t the only thing that attracted his attention to the opening.
“A few years ago my wife was able to listen to (Wright City R-II Superintendent) Mr. (David) Buck at a conference and that, along with the success of the school, peaked our interest,” Benz said. “During the interview process I was really impressed with the culture of the school and felt this was the best fit for my family.”
Benz takes over for Wright City Athletic Director David Evans, who coached the team for one season.
The Wildcats finished 12-13 last season, and lost seniors Devon Holmes, Cameron Cole, Sean McDonald, Nick Boland and Jack Simon.
Benz has spent the month of June working with players at open gyms, as well as an individual skills camp he hosted.
“In the short term I want to continue to get to know my players and them to get to know me,” he said. “We’ve been able to do a great job of this during our open gyms, and I want them to get familiar with my systems and philosophy as well. For the long term, I want to start building a program to be successful year in and year out. That’s going to be done by working with the younger levels and making sure everyone is on the same page. Having these summer camps lets us start to establish that.”
The Wildcats will continue to meet over the summer before fall sports begin in early August.
Benz hopes he can continue to build relationships with his players as he prepares for his first season at Wright City.
“With the leadership some of the kids have shown and the work ethic and the willingness to be coached by all the boys, I think the ceiling is very high for us,” he said. “The summer has been great, and I hope they continue to improve like they have so far.”