Hank Gareis has been hired as St. Mary's varsity boys basketball coach, replacing Jim Sheehan, who resigned earlier this month after 10 years on the job, the school announced yesterday.
Gareis, an Arnold resident, coached St. Mary's junior varsity team last year. His Saints went 10-6 and reached the semifinals of the Maryland Scholastic Association C Conference tournament.
"I think he'll do an outstanding job," said Carmine Blades, St. Mary's athletic director. "He did a great job as JV coach. He's well-liked by the students and is very patient and very calm."
Blades said another plus is that Gareis teaches social studies at St. Mary's, "which solves a lot of problems." Sheehan, who compiled a 113-122 career record, also teaches at the Annapolis school.
Gareis, 42, is a 1966 graduate of City College in Baltimore, where he played football, basketball and baseball. He made the All-MSA team in football and later played defensive end and served as a team captain at the University of Maryland.
Gareis was an assistant basketball coach at Loyola High School in Towson in the early 1970s. He worked for a moving and storage business in Annapolis for 12 years before getting back into the teaching/coaching profession at St. Mary's last year, assisting Brad Best in football and Sheehan in basketball.
"I kept going to all these sports banquets and things in Baltimore, and I kept meeting up with my old high school coaches. I looked at them and saw the difference they made in me," he said.
"I also thought about how my son [Hank Jr., 21] had a real good situation at Broadneck High with his teachers and coaches. I just figured this was something I wanted to do. Luckily, I have a family that's been pretty supportive."
When asked what he felt he could bring to the St. Mary's program as head coach, Gareis said, "I guess one of the things I really want to do is bring some of my knowledge of what I've learned over the last 40 years, and also teach them a few things -- about basketball, and about life, too.
"Kids need a positive role model. The athletic fields are where a lot of this development occurs. I want to make a difference in their lives."
While doing so, he also hopes to keep the Saints moving in the right direction on the court. After posting a dismal 4-20 record during the 1990-1991 season, they went 10-13 last year, including 8-4 in the conference.
"There's no doubt we made steps last year that will be a big help this year -- snowball-type of thing," he said. "I'm sure we can continue going forward. It should be fun, and it should be challenging, too."