As a boys’ assistant basketball coach for Walnut Grove, Aaron Schuck traveled to Panther Indoor Stadium last year to scout the boys’ game between Monroe Area and Jackson County. But the girls’ game ended up leaving an impression on him.
“Leaving the game, I just kind of said to myself, ‘If the girls’ job ever comes open at Jackson County, I’m going to apply for it,’” Schuck said.
Just a few months later, Schuck ended up with that exact opportunity.
Schuck has landed the Jackson County girls’ head-coaching job following the departure of former coach Monty McClure, who recently resigned from his post for a boys’ assistant job at Madison County. His hiring was approved Monday night, though he was granted permission to work with the team prior to that.
Schuck said a few factors led to him seeking the job.
“I liked the area and the way that area is growing,” Schuck said, “and it just seemed that the basketball team is made up of a lot of just good girls in general. They just seemed like high-character individuals. That’s really what caught my interest originally.”
Meeting with the administration for his interview only cemented his feelings about the job.
“The vision that (athletic director) Brad Hayes and (principal) Dr. (Pete) Jones have for the school … their vision and my vision, they really aligned together,” Schuck said.
Originally from Toledo, Ohio, the 35-year-old Schuck has lived the past 25 years in Georgia. He played high school basketball at North Gwinnett and attended college at Shorter University.
This will be Schuck’s 12th year in coaching, but first as a head coach.
He began his career as a girls’ assistant coach at Parkview under Mike McCoy for six years, before serving as a head middle school girls’ coach at Trickum — Parkview’s feeder school — for three years. Schuck then spent one year each as an assistant coach at Jackson and Walhut Grove high schools.
He’s eager for the opportunity now to be a head coach after nearly a dozen years of paying his dues as an assistant.
“It’s really exciting,” Schuck said. “The one thing I did, I told all the assistant coaches, and the players ‘I’m not a dictator. I want everybody to shine in their roles.’ But it’s really exciting. For me, personally, it’s a dream come true. I’ve worked really hard. I’ve been very patient for this moment.”
Schuck added that he didn’t want to take just any job for his first head-coaching assignment. He wanted the right fit.
“I told them from Day 1, this isn’t a stepping-stone job,” Schuck said. “This is a destination-type job. I plan on being here and building a total program.”
Schuck said that he’s appreciative of the school board, Hayes and Jones for giving him the opportunity to guide the program.
In his short time with the team, Schuck said the players “have been phenomenal.” The team’s three rising seniors — Bailey Bejin, Carson Anderson and Sydney Hayes — have made the transition much easier according to the coach.
“I definitely feel like there’s a positive buzz about us throughout the community,” Schuck said, “and the kids, I feel they’ve definitely bought in.”
Schuck, who ran his players through two-a-day practices last week, will continue working with the team in a series of scrimmages this week — running through Thursday — at Winder-Barrow.
He’s also set up a couple of play dates with Commerce and Johnson this summer.
Schuck’s goal for the summer is clear.
“Player development is the biggest thing for us right now,” he said.