Daring Det: Recognition, Respect, Resilience
Boys Basketball, Sports

Daring Det: Recognition, Respect, Resilience

By Landon Williams

After 369 total wins and just over 600 games coached, he recently started unveiling his potential to become an IHSAA basketball team state champion. 

Mark Detweiler, the Delta High School boys’ basketball head coach. Within his 22 seasons there have been multiple times Detweiler has played through pressure, though not all of them had positive results. 

Despite all the intense and nerve wracking games, his latest team thrived under the spotlight both years and managed to bring home back-to-back sectional and regional titles. 

“We try to put guys in situations where it challenges them throughout the course of the year,” Detweiler said. “But then the second piece is there’s a quality that I think that some guys just have in their personalities where moments just aren’t too big for them.”

Detweiler is the first coach in Delta’s basketball program to bring home back-to-back regional titles. The Eagles have come one win short of reaching the state championship each time. 

This season the Eagles fell short in the evening semi-state game. They suffered a heartbreaking 44-41 loss to South Bend St. Joseph in a triple-overtime game. 

Detweiler was just as devastated as the players. 

To this day, Detweiler still thinks about it, but as a head coach you have to be able to know how to win but also you have to be able to learn from the unfortunate losses.

When it came down to the moment none of the players wanted anything more than to win. 

“What I want people to remember is none of those dudes hid from that moment, what you really saw was a bunch of guys who weren’t afraid of the moment” Detweiler said. 

Bench excitement
Coach Detweiler pumps his fist after a big play in the sectionals at New Castle Field House as the other coaches and bench players erupt with excitement. (Photo Provided)

Even with the tough loss that night, Detweiler was there to support his guys through it. 

Detweiler figured this out as a coach quickly. Using some background knowledge from his playing years he was able to just do that. 

Detweiler was a player himself, but unfortunately suffered from multiple injuries and realized he wasn’t suitable to play college basketball. 

He knew that was the end of his playing era but altered his perspective on basketball, changing it from a player’s point of view to a coaching standpoint. 

That’s when he started his varsity coaching career in 1999 being Randolph Southern varsity head coach for three years. 

In 2002 he was offered a head coaching position at Union County where he would stay for 14 years. 

It wasn’t until 2017 when Detweiler was offered a head coaching position at Delta and would make his debut that year. 

In his second year of being the head coach at Delta he made his presence known. With an undefeated regular season and a trip to the regional championship, he served notice that the Eagles would be a top program.

Coach at microphone
Coach Detweiler speaks to the crowd prior to honoring David Reade in the annual Coaches vs. Cancer game. (Photo Provided)

Although he wasn’t able to win the regional that season, it wasn’t his main focus and still hasn’t been. 

“Winning’s nice, championships are nice and recognition and all that stuff is great but at the end of the day it’s fun, as long as I’m having fun.” Detweiler said. “It’s never gotten less fun. I enjoy going into the gym every day and getting to know high school guys and work with them and I love what we do.”

Having a good connection with your players as a coach not only benefits the relationship but also the chemistry between the two. 

This is why you can often find Detweiler interacting with his players or giving some advice on and off the court. 

D’Amare Hood, a senior varsity starter, loves getting to talk to Detweiler, not just as a coach but also as a friend. Detweiler has helped develop D’Amare into the player he is today, starting in sixth grade and working with him up until this season. 

 “The relationship I have with him, I know I can talk to him about anything,” Hood said. “We joke around a lot but when it’s game time we’re serious. I’ll definitely miss all the post game hugs.”

Caleb Jones, another senior varsity player, has also been brought up through Detweiler’s program.

Caleb started playing basketball in third grade and has had numerous coaches but none like Detweiler. 

“I’m gonna miss hanging out with him every day and definitely winning the games with him,” Jones said. “He’s just overall a great guy and at practice he laughs, smiles and talks with all the guys.”

Although the season didn’t end the way they wanted it to, Deweiler is working at this new team piece by piece to figure out how to make it to the next level, competing for a state championship.

 

April 22, 2024

About Author

Landon Williams

landonwilliams Landon Williams is a freshman at Delta High School. He enjoys basketball, hanging with friends, baseball, and listening to music.


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