DALEVILLE — In looking for a new girls basketball coach, the Daleville Broncos selected a leader who will need very little introduction and no change of address.
He’ll just have to switch locker rooms.
Tuesday evening, Daleville announced Broncos boys basketball assistant Austin Earley would get the nod and take the helm for the defending sectional champions.
This is the first head coaching job for Earley, a 2011 Pendleton Heights and 2015 Valparaiso University graduate, who was an assistant with Chad Cook for the Arabians girls team before coming over to join Tyler Stotler with the Daleville boys team in 2017.
Earley succeeds Ashley Fouch, who left for Whiteland after three seasons, including the program’s first sectional championship in 2020.
“(I’m) extremely excited,” Earley said. “I’m going to do the best I can to prepare, and now that I have this opportunity, I’m going to take full advantage of it.”
While he has been assisting with the boys team, Earley has become a familiar face in the building already, including to the girls players. He has already spoken with some of the players and is looking forward to getting in the gym with his team — which returns four starters, including the program’s all-time leading scorer, Heather Pautler — next month as IHSAA restrictions are lifted.
“I have spoken with a few of them, and there seems to be a pretty positive vibe,” Earley said. “I’m just hoping I can live up to that. I think it’s kind of an advantage that most, if not all, the girls coming back and the freshmen coming to the high school, I have something of a relationship with them or at least they know who I am.”
Daleville athletic director Ben Wissel said Earley had distinguished himself during the last three years, adding his goals include making all of the Broncos’ programs stronger, not just the girls basketball team.
“Most importantly, him proving his ability to be committed to a program, a school and a community all together,” Wissel said. “He’s proven his worth, in my opinion. I think anyone who follows our program would agree that he’s been a great example.”
Wissel said Earley emerged as the top contender from a large field of candidates after receiving 13 applications for the job.
“Since I’ve been at Daleville, that’s the most applicants we’ve had for any position,” Wissel, entering his third year as AD, said. “I think the long term is really positive. The foundation is in really good shape for the next person following.”
Earley is looking to continue building on what the team has accomplished in recent seasons. He is looking to continue not only the winning ways and the all-out effort of the players but to build upon it.
“We are the reigning champs, so I want to build off what they are already doing,” Earley said. “Coach Fouch did a great job building the reputation of a team that won’t give up and is relentless. That’s definitely something I hope we can carry over.”