Ahrns Takes Over Beavercreek Boys Basketball Post

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Beavercreek Basketball
A new era of Beavercreek High School boys basketball is being ushered in and alumnus John Ahrns is the man leading the program.

Ahrns, 32, was recently named head coach, replacing Charlie Back who decided he wanted to focus on teaching and spend more time with his family following eight years on the job.


A new era of Beavercreek High School boys basketball is being ushered in and John Ahrns is the man leading the program.

Ahrns, 32, was recently named head coach, replacing Charlie Back who decided he wanted to focus on teaching and spend more time with his family following eight years on the job.

Ahrns is a 1994 Beavercreek graduate and was a key member of the Beavers’ 1993-94 Western Ohio League co-championship team (tied with Springfield South). The 6-5 Ahrns played center and power forward for BHS.

Following graduation from Miami University in 1998, Ahrns became Beavercreek’s sophomore coach for two years and has served as the junior varsity coach for the last eight seasons.

During his time as a JV and sophomore coach, Ahrns led his teams to a winning record in each of his 10 seasons. His 2003-04 team finished 18-1, which was the best JV season in school history. The team also won its first 12 games the following season which resulted in a 30-game winning streak.

“I’m really proud of that winning streak,” Ahrns said. “We actually played Trotwood the first game of the 2003-04 season and Chris Wright (who is now at the University of Dayton) dunked all over us. He was a freshman at the time and I think that was his last game playing JV.”

Roughly 30 coaches applied for the Beavercreek job, including four in-house and 26 outside candidates. However, Ahrns was able to stay relatively relaxed during the few weeks in which he was in limbo.

“I actually enjoyed the interview process,” Ahrns said. “This is something I’ve wanted for a long time and it was exciting to get a chance. The only stressful part about it was, at first, if somebody else got it, I wasn’t sure if I would still have a coaching job (as a JV coach or something of that nature). However, I was told I would have a contract no matter what, so that took the stress away.

“I thought I had a good chance at getting it. But like Tom Petty says, ‘The waiting is the hardest part.’”

(Ahrns is an avid rock music fan if you couldn’t already tell.)

But Ahrns didn’t have to wait for long. Beavercreek administrators knew that he was the best man for the job due to his success as an assistant coach and his deep knowledge of the program. They interviewed three outside candidates, but Ahrns’ overall resume was just too impressive to pass up.

“It was a great feeling getting that call saying I got the job,” Ahrns said. “And then word spread very quickly. I found out the morning of our graduation (Saturday, May 31) and I told my family and I told anyone who asked me about it. However, word spread even faster than I anticipated. I had a meeting with the young men in our program two days later (Monday, June 2) to let everyone know what was up.”

Ahrns’ first order of business at Beavercreek is restoring the defensive mentality that made the Beavers so tough to beat for years. He wants his team to be known as a lock-down defensive squad.

“We’ve gotten away from the defensive mindset as we’ve gotten more skilled athletes,” Ahrns said. “We’ve stressed outscoring our opponents instead of holding them to the least-amount of points possible.

“Our defense has become somewhat lag. And that could be what we’re doing, or it could be that AAU mentality where defense is not really stressed. We have to develop the mindset where we are going to force our opponents to take bad shots. And we want to be like the Boston Celtics of the 1980’s: no lay-ups. We want to prevent teams from ever getting easy baskets against us.”

One problem Beavercreek has encountered in recent years has been a general lack of size in terms of the players in the program. The Beavers were known as a big team for years – the kind of school that could put three 6-5 guys on the floor at the same time. However, those days are gone, at least for now.

“We don’t have a lot of big, tall guys anymore,” Ahrns said. “Our starting center last season was 6-2. When I played here, we had guards that were 6-2, 6-3. We had big guys that went 6-5, 6-6, 6-7.”

However, the cupboard isn’t completely bare for the Beavers, far from it in fact. Coming off a 12-11 season and with four starters lost to graduation, Ahrns certainly has his work cut out for him in his first year. However, there is always talent in Beavercreek’s program and three of the players to watch in 2008-09 will be forward Tyler Pollock (6-2, Sr.), point guard Alex Arthur (6-0, Sr.) and center Brad Sundstrom (6-5, Jr.).

“Tyler could have a breakout year for us,” Ahrns said. “He can shoot, he’s tough inside and he gets the job done on the boards and defensively. He is also a Division I caliber soccer player.

“Alex, when he’s on, he can be the best point guard we’ve had here in a few years. He’s very talented. He just needs to be a full-time basketball player and become a little less interested in some of the social events.

“And Brad, he’s the best athlete we’ve had here in a while. He can jump and has long arms. He also plays on the football team.

“We can be better than people expect if those guys step up like I think they will.”

Ahrns has already put together a coaching staff. Longtime Beavercreek-area coach Allan Prater will serve as junior varsity coach and varsity assistant. The sophomore coach/varsity assistant will be Eric Seilhamer. And a man who was coaching when Ahrns played for Beavercreek – Buzz Seilhamer – might come out of retirement to be a volunteer varsity assistant coach. Seilhamer was the longtime junior varsity coach and took over for one year (1999-2000) as the varsity head coach following the ousting of Larry Holden.

Ahrns teaches honors United States history at Beavercreek.

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