DALEVILLE —  Daleville High School made history Monday evening when Ashley Fouch returned to the Broncos as the next varsity boys basketball head coach.

“I’m super blessed, and I’m humbled honestly,” Fouch said. “The gravity of the position I’m about to go into is huge, for more reasons than one. But, it’s a blessing to be back in Daleville for sure.”

Fouch was 31-39 during 3 seasons as Daleville’s girls varsity coach, including the program’s first sectional title in 2019, before departing for Whiteland, where she was 5-18 last season. She played collegiately at Taylor University after graduating from Muncie Central High School.

“This is home for me, Delaware County is home for me, for them to be open arms about me again, you don’t usually get that,” she said.

There have been other women to coach boys basketball in the state of Indiana, and most have been in the last three decades. Elizabeth Dietz (New Alsace, 1927-28), Dori Roth (Fort Wayne Christian, 1991-97), Brenda Drook (Hebron, 2007-10), Kia Matthews (West Gary Lighthouse, 2012-13), and Niki McCoy (Steel City Academy, 2019-20) have previously coached boys varsity in Indiana while several other women took over boys varsity teams while their male counterparts served in the military during World War II.

“It’s history, sure but we’re going to keep it simple I’m just the basketball coach“,” she said.

Fouch — the first to take on this assignment in the area – hopes to accomplish something that none of her predecessors were able to achieve.

She wants to bring another sectional title to Daleville, this time for the boys program which has not advanced to regional since doing so in both 2008 and 2009.

“That’s always going to be the goal, it has to be,” Fouch said. “With the boys team that’s here now, I’ve watched them play plenty of times, they can compete. I’m excited to get rolling with them.”

The Broncos have a strong core of returning talent, including sophomore Meryck Adams, junior Dylan Scott, and seniors Camden Leisure and leading scorer Trevion Johnson. As a point guard, Leisure averaged 6.5 points and 5.6 assists per game last year and says Fouch’s philosophy is a good fit for the program.

“I’m kind of shocked, but I’m excited to see how it will go,” Leisure said. “It’s something I’ve never done before, not many people have, so I’m excited to see how it goes. … I think we’ll still be able to push the tempo and be a running team, I think she’ll fit well.”

Fouch emerged from a group of over a dozen candidates for the position after Tyler Stotler departed following an 8-12 season. Athletic Director Josh Hutchens says quality experience was the deciding factor on choosing Fouch to head up a program seeking its first winning season since the 2017-18 campaign.

“Obviously the resume got the first step, here’s what she’s done and what she’s accomplished,” Hutchens said. “I think it helps that it’s been here because, ultimately, she has the full package. She has the experience as a player and a coach.”

While fully aware of the historical context of her hire, Fouch is focused on one thing and one thing only.

“There is definitely some history being made, but at the same time, and I’ll probably quote this every single time during the season when somebody asks me about being a woman coaching boys, ‘Basketball is basketball,” Fouch said. “I’m coaching basketball, that’s all I’m doing. I don’t care if I’m coaching elementary girls or elementary boys, it’s all the same thing.”

The Daleville administration has expressed its support and backing of Fouch.

“We are excited to have Ashley Fouch back home at Daleville,” DHS Principal Eric Douglas said at Monday’s announcement.

“We knew that this would be an event,” Hutchens said. “But obviously that wasn’t a consideration. We’re going to go for the best person for the job.”

Contact Rob Hunt at rob.hunt@heraldbulletin.com or 765-640-4886.

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