Sterling basketball coach credits team with 'Golden' season
Ryan Vasquez's name might be on it, but the coaching honor he received recently was a team award, he told the Rock Island Today.
“It's an extension of our program, and I know that we're all just very humbled accepting this award,” Vasquez, Sterling High School's head boys basketball coach, said about the Coach of the Year award he earned from the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association.
Last season, the Golden Warriors posted a 23-9 record, which included a regional title, the program's first since the 2011-12 season. Vasquez said the team's competitive drive was key.
“I'm a firm believer that our strength of schedule helped us get through the season and be prepared for the postseason,” he said. “But just the way our kids competed day in and day out, nobody looks for excuses. I have kids that just want to get better every single day.”
Teaching kids to be competitive in all facets of life is what Vasquez said he likes about coaching.
“A lot of kids want guidance these days and, you know, just being able to help them as a mentor and see them grow as a person," he said. "It's really not even about basketball; it's just watching them grow as a person and see the way they end up going. The way they compete, it means everything to me because they're not just doing it on the floor. We have a bunch of student-athletes at Sterling High School who are competing in the classroom and doing great things after high school. So that's what I love to see.”
After moving from the head girls basketball position in April 2015, Vasquez managed the boys' team to a 19-8 record in 2015-16. Vasquez, an assistant for nine years on the boys team at Sterling, said he has improved “tremendously” as a coach, with his love of basketball combining with having had great mentors over the years and his desire to learn more.
“Until the day I'm done, I want to be a sponge," he said. "And I want to continue to learn and continue to grown and never really want to be satisfied."
Being able to be successful as a coach at the same school at which he was a three-sport athlete is a great honor, he said.
“I bleed the blue and gold,” Vasquez said. “We have a great administration at Sterling High School who put me in position to be really successful.”
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410 E Le Fevre Rd
Sterling, IL 61081