Ryan Hayden takes over as Central boys basketball coach
Only two months after hiring Kurt Schneider as its boys basketball coach, Central High School was faced with replacing him.
Athletic Director Randy Powell said Schneider told him Wednesday night that could not fulfill his commitment.
Powell didn’t have to look far to find a coach, however.
Ryan Hayden, who was a finalist for the position, was announced Friday as the Warriors’ new head coach.
Hayden, 29, has been an assistant at Palisade, where he attended high school, and has been looking to move up to a head coaching position.
“It’s been something on my radar increasingly the past three years,” Hayden said. “I’ve had a lot of loyalties to Palisade, but this was a great opportunity.”
Hayden was in the running for the position when the Warriors were originally looking for a replacement for Phil Cain.
“We had good candidates and it was good knowing Ryan was still available,” Powell said. “His big strength is his enthusiasm and being a student of the game.”
Hayden was an assistant with the Bulldogs for the past 10 seasons. During his time at Palisade, Hayden worked for Mike Krueger, Keenon Clement and Steve Phillips.
“I had the privilege in the past 10 years to work for three great coaches,” Hayden said. “They all had their own philosophies that I learned a lot from.”
Hayden said his own strengths as a coach include his expectations for his players.
“I want kids to work hard and commit,” Hayden said. “I want the kids working hard to achieve common goals.”
Hayden said he’ll preach a defense-first mentality and being smart with offensive possessions.
“I know (Central) has some young, experienced kids that are impact players,” Hayden said. “But I’m going to have a clean slate coming in and have my own conclusions.”
Hayden graduated from Palisade in 2000, was a three-year starter and an all-state player for the Bulldogs.
“When I was playing, Central was top dog,” Hayden said. “I want to restore that rich tradition of them being a powerhouse.”
Hayden, who works in the heating and air conditioning business, wants to build the program at Central.
“I’ve seen these kids here on the east side of the valley, so there is some face recognition,” Hayden said. “I’m a local guy and they can count on me for the long haul.”