FERDINAND — Drew Messmer had been in the area in recent years, but now, he’ll officially be working back home.
The Southeast Dubois County School Corporation tapped the 2013 Forest Park grad as the next boys basketball coach of the Rangers at Wednesday’s board meeting, succeeding another former Ranger in David Welp.
“I’m super-excited — happy to be back home, happy to be back in the community that I grew up in,” Messmer said.
Messmer told The Herald more than 100 people had reached out through avenues of text messaging and Facebook. He interviewed for the position in 2018 when Welp got the job, and worked as an assistant at Southridge and Heritage Hills before getting the position in his own right.
He also coached at the college level as an assistant at Anderson University, Midway University (Ky.) and was an AAU coach.
“Family was really important to (his wife Kendall and him),” he said. “And I didn’t want to do the traveling of the college game anymore, decided to transition to the high school game and this has been my dream job ever since I made that decision.
“We live one mile from the school, we both graduated from Forest Park, our families obviously live in this community,” Drew continued. “This is home, that’s where I want to be.”
Drew has run into different coaching influences along the way, with former Rangers coach Tom Beach being a major one. However, while on staff with the Patriots, he got to work with a man he played for in Nate Hawkins — forming a great, trust-based relationship.
When Drew told Hawkins he got the Rangers job, the latter told him he hopes he goes undefeated every year except for one night — when Forest Park plays Heritage Hills.
“The thing that Coach Hawkins does arguably better than anybody else around here is he runs a really good program,” he said. “He knows the value of the feeder program and the travel ball, AAU program and just he knows the work that you got to put in, the camps and all that stuff.
“It was a similar structure what he has at Heritage Hills as to what I had when I played at Forest Park,” Drew added. “So, it was good to just kind of refresh your memory and flip sides to the coaching side and be able to actually perform those duties on that side to really have a template to go off of to run your program.”
Upon resigning from the position, former Rangers coach David Welp told The Herald talked about what he did being a 365-day job — something Drew agreed with.
“It’s certainly a massive time commitment, but I’m certainly ready for it,” he said.
Drew said junior varsity coach Phil Winkler and freshman coach David Lusk were tasked with putting together a schedule for summer ball, which he’ll be taking a look at. The new coach also plans on meeting with his players, telling them it’ll be a lot of work, to be ready to compete, but also that they’ll have a good time and he’ll have a good relationship with his players.
He’s looking to emphasize man-to-man defense, to hold opponents under 50 points and hopes for even lower than that while ideally having a 4-out-1-in motion-style offense.
“We’re going to grind it out, and let our work determine what we do on Fridays and Saturdays,” Drew said. “We should reap benefits from what we sow into our program. It may take a little bit of time, or we might be ready to get rolling right away this season. But as far as goals like that — that’s my goal is I don’t want to get outworked. Our program cannot get outworked.”