GOSHEN — Daniel Mast being a 2006 graduate of Bethany Christian High School is just one of the reasons it will be considered a homecoming when returns to his alma mater as the boys basketball coach.
There are plenty of family connections for Mast. The school’s legendary boys basketball coach, Jim Buller, is his uncle and was his coach when he played at Bethany. His father, John Mast, was the girls basketball coach in the past and an assistant in the boys program. And his mother, Lois Mast, is the girls volleyball coach.
“I think coaching is in my DNA,” the younger Mast said. “I have been around head coaches all my life and always felt someday I would be a head coach. Just wasn’t sure if the opportunity would ever come up to return to Bethany.”
Bethany Athletic Director Gary Chupp made the announcement Monday afternoon about Mast replacing Ryan Gingerich, who was in charge of the program for the past three seasons.
“Daniel has a true passion for teaching the game of basketball, and using that platform to invest in the lives of young people. He has coached in some outstanding high school programs, and that experience has prepared him to take over our program. I am excited for the future of Bethany basketball under Daniel’s leadership.”
According to Mast, who was an assistant at Goshen High School for boys basketball coach Michael Wohlford last season, it took an offer like the Bethany job to leave the RedHawk program.
“Michael (Wohlford) taught me so many things about being a head coach I couldn’t possibly name them all,” Mast said. “One of the biggest things he taught me was how to prepare, and not just for games but for practices and for meetings. He also taught me how important communication is with the players, their parents, the administration and the community. He taught me that if you speak from the heart the words are not hard to come by.”
Playing for his uncle has taught him some lessons he plans to share with his players.
“Jim (Buller) taught he how to teach a passion and a love for the game,” Mast said. “He lived and breathed basketball. He showed me what it takes in terms of time and effort to be a basketball coach.”
Mast is the seventh head coach in Bethany history. Dan Bodiker coached the first nine seasons from 1965-66 to 1973-74. He was followed by Rick Stiffney for one season, Ed Herr for three, Mike Lambright one, Buller for 35, Chupp for one, Eric Gingerich for one and Ryan Gingerich for three.
Mast will be the fourth coach in the last six years at the school.
“There is no fear about coming into the program. I wasn’t around then and don’t know what happened,” he said. “My knowledge about Bethany goes beyond the basketball program. That should help me build the program.
“One thing I do know is at a school the size of Bethany we have to rely heavily on multiple sport athletes.”
Mast played four years of basketball, three baseball seasons and two of soccer during how own prep career at the school.
His basketball sophomore season at Bethany in 2003-04, he netted 25 points for a 6-17 team, his junior season he scored 97 points for a 5-16 squad and as a senior tossed in 193 (third leading scorer) for an 8-15 team.
Mast is a math teacher at Goshen Middle School, teaching pre-Algebra and Algebra for the past nine years.
“I love teaching at Goshen and for the next year, at least, plan to continue,” he said. “We will have to see how it works with me not being in the building, but Dad is going to be an assistant and he is in the building.”
Daniel and his wife, the former Allyson Christner, have been married for six years. She is a 2009 GHS graduate.
“We both are from Goshen, but didn’t know each other since I went to Bethany and she to Goshen,” Mast said. “We met while attending Bluffton University (Bluffton, Ohio).”
The couple had a an eight-month old son named Beck.
Greg Keim can be reached at email@example.com or 574-533-2151, ext. 326. Follow Greg on Twitter @gkeim_TGN