Ephrata tabs Treese

By on September 27, 2017
Jonathan Treese
Jonathan Treese

Jonathan Treese

Former Muhlenberg coach named Fisher’s successor

A quick acting Ephrata administration didn’t take long to find a replacement for Charlie Fisher, the former head boys basketball coach who resigned last month to take over at Manheim Central.

Despite the short timetable with the season set to begin in two months, the Mounts were able to find their man in Jonathan Treese, the former Muhlenberg High School head coach.

Treese, who was chosen among several candidates that applied, was approved Monday night at Ephrata’s monthly school board meeting.

“Coach Treese brings a strong mind and passion for basketball. His visibility and influence throughout the entire basketball program at Ephrata Area School District will allow him to develop strong relationships with players and families. We are very excited to have Coach Treese join our Ephrata family,” commented Assistant Superintendent Richard Hornberger.

Treese, a Williamsport native who actually resides in the Ephrata School District, has seven years of varsity coaching experience, including the last four years as head coach at Muhlenberg. After graduating at Lebanon Valley College in 2009, Treese was an assistant varsity coach at Williamsport Area High School for three seasons prior to being named head man at Muhlenberg.

“I’m excited for the opportunity,” Treese said by phone Tuesday afternoon. “It was an exciting and unique opportunity to be able to coach in my own community. I’m actually college friends with (Fisher) and we had talked a lot about the Ephrata program. He was really doing a lot of great things. Since my wife and I live there, we just had our first child and are anticipating staying in the community long-term so it was a very exciting thing to have a chance to get involved with the Ephrata School District through basketball.”

In his four seasons at Muhlenberg, Treese who works full-time as the dean of students at Muhlenberg Middle School, went 17-71 and was 5-17 with a 1-9 record in Division One of the Berks Conference, which includes defending District and State champion Reading, District Two seed from a year ago Governor Mifflin, and Wilson.

The 30-year-old resigned from that post in February.

“It was just a good time to transition because my wife and I were just starting a family, plus I just thought it might be a good time to allow someone else the opportunity to lead the Muhlenberg basketball program,” he said of his decision to leave that program.

While Treese said he wasn’t actively pursuing a coaching job, when one opened up in his back yard, he and his wife felt the opportunity was too good to pass up.

“When I decided I was going to resign from Muhlenberg and kind of shift to just focusing on my career more and family, my wife was encouraging me that she didn’t think I should be done coaching long-term,” Treese explained. “I was sort of thinking I’m not really looking for anything but we’ll kind of see what happens. Then at the end of the summer I told her I was really starting to feel like I was going to miss the gym. I was really going to miss that opportunity to connect with kids in a different way. Then the Ephrata job came open and it really came down to, do you really want to not take a shot at this opportunity because how often does an opportunity that you didn’t expect to happen show up like that? That’s when we decided I had to pursue it. I just couldn’t let it go.”

Fortunately for Treese, he inherits one of the more talented rosters in Section Two. The Mounts, who won 16 games a year ago and advanced to both the L-L League and District Three Tournaments, are expected to contend for the Section Two title with six of their top eight players back for the 2017-18 season.

Treese said he was familiar with some of the current players, having scrimmaged against the Mounts two years ago while at Muhlenberg.

“I saw them as freshmen and sophomores and you could tell the potential was there,” he said. “It was definitely a group of kids that wanted to listen to coaching. I’ve heard that the work-ethic of Ephrata kids in general is really, really strong. That attracts any coach. They experienced success last year, and that’s one of those things that’s really, really hard to do…learning how to win. They started figuring that out last year, so of course from that standpoint it was attractive. Also, I know the staff is really good. Charlie spoke very highly of the staff. There were just really a lot of good things to inherit for a coach that made it very attractive to me.”

Speaking of the former staff, Treese said he is hoping to bring back Fisher’s former assistants if at all possible.

“We haven’t made any decisions,” he said. “I have a lot of respect for what they’ve been doing the last couple years. I think for the kids the transition would be easier if coaches were willing to stay on in whatever roles and be a part of the program.”

With that in mind, Treese said he doesn’t plan to make many changes, particularly in the first year.

“For me, if you have good things taking place, the last thing you want to do is come in and start explaining how you want to change things,” he said. “You kind of want to take that time to let the transition happen, especially since it’s already the fall and the season is upon us. I know a couple of the assistants have already been keeping up with the open gyms and getting guys to the weight room. It would be counter productive to try to take that kind of stuff away.”

As far as his style of play is concerned, Treese said he likes his team to play an uptempo game.

“I would openly say that I enjoy playing basketball at a fast pace,” he said. “I say fast because I want to constantly put pressure on the other team. I like to try to play pressure defense and change defenses to keep an offense uncomfortable. And on offense I like to push the ball because if you teach kids how to read, recognize and react and know how to make a decision between taking a shot you shouldn’t too fast, or just getting the ball up the floor to make sure the defense is working, that’s the ideal situation.

“To do those things you have to be in really good condition, and you have to build depth because if you are going to constantly put pressure on the other team that means you are anticipating going nine, 10, and even 11 deep. The other thing I would say is that’s not the formula for every team you play, and sometimes even kids that understand those things really well need to slow down because you need to have that ability to make those changes. Besides that, I’m still a big believer in the continuity of a motion offense that you can always go to and run a lot of stuff off it. A little bit of both but ideally I want the pace to be quick.”

Ephrata opens the season Monday, Dec. 11 at home vs. Penn Manor.

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