Girls Basketball: Leyden names Pancratz new coach
Updated: July 1, 2012 12:51PM
Leyden’s new girls basketball coach is so new that she just graduated from college Sunday and is completing her student teaching.
But if Drewann Pancratz doesn’t have much in the way of experience to offer, she certainly comes from an impressive bloodline.
The 22-year-old Pancratz was a star volleyball and basketball player at Schaumburg High School, where he mother, Jeanette, is the varsity girls volleyball coach. Her father, Andy, was a star basketball player at Hersey High School and at DePaul University. And her brothers, Mark, Zach and Jake all have been standout basketball players.
Pancratz, who was a star setter in volleyball while attending Carthage College in Kenosha, Wis., has been student teaching and working as an assistant boys volleyball coach at Fremd High School in Palatine.
Now, with her college diploma in hand and a job secured at Leyden as a physical education teacher, girls varsity basketball coach, and assistant girls volleyball coach, Pancratz is excited about a new chapter in her life.
“This is a dream job for me; I’ve always wanted to be a teacher and coach,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity for me to come to a place like Leyden, which I’ve heard so many great things about, and have the chance to teach and step in as the basketball coach.”
Pancratz takes over the girls basketball coaching position from Michele Szatko, who is not returning as a Leyden teacher or coach after three years there.
In the three seasons with Szatko as head coach, the Eagles had a cumulative record of 11-77, including a 2-34 mark in the West Suburban Conference Gold Division. Leyden finished 1-28 in 2011-12, winning only a preliminary-round game in a Class 4A Regional.
“I’ve heard about that, and I know things aren’t going to turn around overnight,” Pancratz said. “I try to look at the program as a whole. We need to get kids interested and willing to work hard. I’ll work at changing the whole attitude of the program and making it something kids want to be a part of.”
Pancratz said turning the girls basketball program around in a positive direction will require work that starts before girls get to Leyden.
“I want to develop a feeder program; maybe work with the park districts,” she said. “We have to develop a better vibe in the community and get girls wanting to play basketball more than just during the high school season.”
Being not much older than some of her players is something Pancratz believes will be a benefit.
“I think it makes it easier for the girls to relate to me,” she said.
Leyden Athletic Director Randy Conrad doesn’t believe Pancratz’s youth or lack of coaching experience will be a problem.
“I was very impressed with her maturity when I talked with her,” he said. “She’s really excited to take over our program. She’s had success herself as an individual, and I think that’s important.”