By Jeremy McDonald
GERVAIS, Ore.– Back in 1995, Ben Schultz was a student at Gervais High School; playing a part of the boys basketball teams and had witness the Girls winning the State Title the year before in 1994.
Fast forward to 2016, and after stint at Woodburn as a coach under former Head Coach Enrique Sandoval, Schultz is back home to Gervais as the Head Coach of the Varsity squad.
“It’s everything,” he started. “For most people, I can’t say for all. The opportunity to come home is here. Both my parents were teachers here, the trees that line in the front, my dad planted them. I know Mrs. James, she’s the stats keeper here…she’s amazing.
“So the ability to come back home and be apart of the program you were apart of, it was a dream.”
On top of that, he remembers the band in one corner of the gym, the crowds for the girls and guys games and he hopes to build a pipeline similar to what Woodburn pieced together through the Junior High with the same system they ran and the expectations that have at the High School.
He has daughters that go to school in the area and he doesn’t plan to go anywhere as he knows the trend that the Cougars have in the past. A past that even dates back to when he was playing.
“Every year I was here, we had a new head coach, I don’t want that. I’m here for the long haul to help these guys,” said Schultz. “(To) help the program grow and hopefully raise another banner in here.”
There’s excitement in the gym as Schultz hopes to change the culture there at Gervais in Boys Basketball with a tough nose, fast-pace, don’t give up mentality that he witnessed at Woodburn.
All in hopes to build the old culture that had Gervais on the map in the 1990s.
“The culture of the past, just trying to build that culture again. Coaches in the past, they didn’t necessarily build or did anything with the Junior High.,” Schultz said. “In Woodburn we had a good pipeline that was built up. One of my goals through my career here is build up a good pipeline through here with the junior high, get the kids interested in sixth grade. So when they’re here, and we’re all going to run the same stuff, so that when they get here; they’re ready.
“So I’m not looking to go anywhere.”
With the kids on the court Tuesday, tall and powerful kids like River Moss, Derrick Jaramillo are mixed in with the athletic guard-types like Elvis Valliejo, there’s a lot of confidence as the Cougs look to build from their 6-18 overall record last year.
“I’m really excited for the possibilities,” said Jaramillo confidently. “There’s possibilities that we’re going to make it a lot farther than we did last year, last year we didn’t even make the playoffs. But, now we’re playing with a group that we started in seventh grade with and that’s what I’m mostly looking forward to this season.”
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