Hegemier Returns As St. Marys Head Boys Basketball Coach

By: 
JAKE DOWLING
Sports Editor

What could be viewed as a foregone conclusion by many players, fans and followers of the St. Marys Roughriders boys basketball program became official Wednesday night.

Former Roughriders head coach and Ohio High School Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Famer Dan Hegemier was announced as the new head coach of the Roughriders boys basketball program during St. Marys Board of Education meeting on Wednesday. 

Hegemier was approved by the board along with Tony Arling as assistant varsity coach, signaling a change of the guard in what has been a struggling basketball program since the coach left following the 2014-15 season.

Arling — who was Hegemier’s assistant coach during the head coach’s first tenure in St. Marys — held a basketball meeting on Wednesday for players interested in playing the sport next season.

Hegemier is taking over the position after four-year coach Craig Szymczak resigned from the position last month.

Szymczak endured a tumultuous four years with a program that saw no more than eight wins in a single season. The New Jersey native arrived in St. Marys in the summer of 2015, taking over for Hegemier who had advanced the program that previous winter to the Division II district tournament. 

Szymczak left the program with a 26-65 overall record and just 10-26 in the Western Buckeye League. Throughout the season, fans and even players were throwing around the possibility of Hegemier coming back to the program. 

And their wishes came true.

Hegemier stepped down at his alma mater New Knoxville after the 2008-2009 season and took over a struggling St. Marys program in 2009. Hegemier became the 44th coach in Ohio history to 500 games in a victory over New Knoxville in December 2013. Hegemier steadily built up the program to its first sectional title and district title game appearance during the 2014-15 season since 2005. St. Marys’ 16 wins is the most since the 2004-2005 season and is just the sixth Roughrider boys hoops team to win 15 or more games since 1960. His sharpshooting squad set new individual records in free throw shooting percentage and three-point shooting percentage. He retired from coaching then following the 2014-15 campaign with a 58-78 record during his six season in St. Marys.

In his career, Hegemier won 14 league titles, 16 sectionals crowns, 11 district and four regional titles to go with two state championships at Fort Loramie and New Knoxville. Hegemier has been the AP Ohio Coach of the Year three times (1993, 2007 and 2008) and the OHSBCA Coach of the Year in 2007.

Hegemier also coached at Spencerville and Waynesfield-Goshen during his 33-year career as a head coach.