Brady Schlabach returns to Hiland to lead Lady Hawks

Brady Schlabach returns to Hiland to lead Lady Hawks

Image Credit: Dave Mast

The surname Schlabach is synonymous with Hiland Lady Hawks basketball, but the Schlabach taking the reins of the 2022-23 version of the Lady Hawks won’t be the same one who racked up six state championships and the most state tournament appearances in OHSAA history.

While Dave Schlabach has become one of the most prolific, winningest coaches in Ohio girls basketball history, it will be his son Brady Schlabach who will take over as head coach this season after Jason Mishler served as a buffer as head coach after the elder Schlabach retired prior to last season.

For the younger Schlabach, following in his father’s footsteps is both exciting and challenging, but one thing is certain: He has plenty of coaching experience surrounding him between his father and his uncle Mark Schlabach, who has headed up the boys team for almost two decades and has carved out his own successful career.

“No big shoes to fill,” Schlabach said. “I’ve got a pretty good playbook to go by, a great coaching staff and Dad’s helping out a little bit, but I have a chance to take the good things I’ve learned from Dad and from playing for Mark and add the good things I’ve learned elsewhere and apply it to this program. It should be a lot of fun.”

Schlabach served as a student assistant on the Ohio State University women’s team while attending there and learned a great deal at that level. While there he worked on building scouting reports, a skill that will come in handy now and an asset his dad’s coaching staff excelled at.

His experience at Ohio State, in dealing with his dad’s team and an additional year as an assistant at Ohio Dominican University have helped him gain insight into the coaching realm.

“I got to learn a lot about what it’s like to build a culture,” Schlabach said.

Having been around basketball his whole life including playing four years for Mark Schlabach as the starting point guard, Schlabach understands the game. His time as a point guard, where Mark Schlabach called him a “coach on the floor,” has prepared him to tackle a role on one of the most winning programs in Ohio.

“I grew up around the game, but when you’re younger, you never realize everything that goes on behind the scenes until you’re fully immersed in it,” Schlabach said. “I know a lot more now and can pull things from the past and take those things and put them to use more than I could have at the time.”

Schlabach said he originally turned down the offer to coach the Lady Hawks because he felt he wasn’t ready when first offered the position. However, when the job remained open and the offer came back around a second time, he said the timing was right.

Schlabach works in sales for a company in Texas, and he was given the greenlight to move back to Ohio and work from home, which opened the door for him to accept the coaching position.

“Everything fell into place, and I knew I wanted basketball in my life,” Schlabach said.

As a diminutive point guard, much like his father was in high school, Schlabach decided early on in life he would rise to meet challenges. He said this is just one more opportunity to climb another mountain, to make his own mark and work toward building a success story in this chapter of his life.

“To me I get to live my own legacy and run things the way I want, and as of now I don’t feel much pressure to live up to anything,” Schlabach said. “I’m just going to be myself. I feel blessed to get to come in here every day and work with a great group of kids and coaches on a game I love.”

Schlabach said if he learned one key thing from his father, it was being prepared and preparing his girls for the future, whether that is a game, the season or life in general.

He said his dad and the former staff understood showing the girls they were willing to work relentlessly opened the door to girls understanding they could exhibit the same type of effort.

“One of the biggest things I’ve picked up is the importance of life off the court and what I can do to help prepare them for the future,” Schlabach said. “I want to see them develop as people and players, see them grow and be better than they ever thought they could be.”

Schlabach said the team has already done numerous things together off the court including a trip north to see former Lady Hawk Krista Beachy coach at Buffalo before taking a short detour to visit Niagara Falls.

“Those are the types of things that will bring us closer together as a team,” Schlabach said. “I don’t know what is going to happen from here out, but it’s going to be exciting to begin my own career and find my own path while also implementing many of the things I’ve taken from Dad’s program and the success this program has experienced over the decades.”