WATERLOO — Jeremy Rauch made a name for himself the past two seasons as the boys basketball coach at Southridge, leading the Class 3A Raiders to a pair of back-to-back 17-win campaigns.
DeKalb is hoping Rauch can bring that kind of success back to a program that, like the DeKalb football team, is searching for a return to days of glories past. After a lengthy search, Rauch’s hire was approved by the DeKalb Central school board on Tuesday.
“I think I have a good job in a good community and in a good area at Southridge, but I think the DeKalb job is a great job,” Rauch said. “We can have great teams. I’m looking forward to dealing with basketball at a higher level with more talent in a good basketball area. The kids are good, the area’s good and all of those are appealing. It’s a good place to raise a family.”
Rauch, 29, replaces Jon Everingham, who resigned in March after six seasons at the helm. The Barons return four starters from last year’s 8-15 team.
Rauch, a 2003 graduate of Bellmont, has been the Southridge coach the past four seasons, tallying a 56-31 overall record while finishing .500 or above each campaign. Rauch led the Raiders to the sectional championship game in his first season in 2011. Before that, Rauch was the freshman coach at Southridge from 2008-10 and an assistant coach at Eastern Greene from 2006-08.
Rauch also has ties to the Indiana University basketball program. Rauch was a student manager for four seasons from 2003-07, serving three years under Mike Davis and one year under Kelvin Sampson.
“Aside from being there in some of the darkest days of Indiana basketball, it was awesome,” Rauch said. “I learned a lot about communicating with the players and the x’s and o’s. I probably learned more in one year under Sampson than I have at any time in my basketball career. That guy can flat-out coach.”
DeKalb’s incoming athletic director, Chris Rhodes, said a combination of Rauch’s success at Southridge, his IU ties and having played basketball at Bellmont at a time when the Braves were a top-10 team were all factors.
“He’s young and will bring some fire to the program,” Rhodes said. “He’s coming off a 17-win season. Any time you win 17 anywhere, that’s an impressive season. He was at Bellmont in the early 2000s when DeKalb went to semistate and the state finals, and that’s what he remembers about DeKalb. It’s definitely his goal to have that kind of success.”
Rauch will receive a teaching position before the beginning of the next school year, but wasn’t officially approved for one at Tuesday’s meeting.
Rauch describes himself as a basketball junkie, while also showing a bit of self-deprecation in the process.
“I went to Bellmont, played there, and was not very good but I enjoyed the game and got better,” Rauch said. “I was a kid who loved the game. I knew I wanted to be involved at some level. I couldn’t be involved as a player, but knew I’d be a coach at some point. I didn’t know at the time whether it’d be college or high school, and I went the education route.”
Rauch says his No. 1 philosophy offensively is to maximize on easy scores.
“The way we get easy scores is transition, offensive rebounds and free-throw attempts,” Rauch said. “We do plan on being opportunistic and pushing on offense. DeKalb basketball will be fun to watch. But I want to make sure that we’re fun to watch because we’re unselfish, take good shots and work on our macro skills.”