In seven years at the helm at Elyria Catholic Phil Kuchta helped numerous players bring their game to the next level while turning the Panthers into perennial title contenders.
Now it’s Kuchta’s turn to head to the next level.
On Saturday, Kuchta announced his resignation from Elyria Catholic to accept an assistant coaching position at Baldwin Wallace University.
“It’s a dream come true and a great opportunity for me,” Kuchta said. “Coaching at the college level is something I have always though about.”
Kuchta was 99-73 at Elyria Catholic and his teams won a pair of conference titles, in 2015 in the West Shore Conference for the school’s first league title in 13 seasons and again in 2017 in the Great Lakes Conference.
“I really appreciated my time at Elyria Catholic,” Kuchta said. “I’d like to thank all of the players who played for me and gave 110 percent every day, all of the administrators who I had a chance to work with, the alumni who supported our program and all of the people who have been in my corner.
“And I’m especially thankful to Elyria Catholic president Amy Butler. She has been there the entire time I’ve been there. We’ve been through a lot together and I’ve has always had her support.”
Kuchta led Elyria Catholic to four district tournament appearances and a coached a pair of 1,000 point scorers, his son Jake Kuchta and Dorian Crutcher, the school’s all-time leading scorer.
It’s not the end of Kuchta’s association with the Panthers. He will remain on the faculty at the school, where he teaches health, physical education and computer science.
For the past few summers Kuchta has coached at Ivy League Elite Camps as well as a numbers of college camps across Ohio, spending time with college coaches and learning the intricacies of the NCAA game.
“I always talk with the kids at Elyria Catholic about ‘Chasing your dream,’ and waking up every day and working hard to make those dreams come true,” Kuchta said. “This gives me a chance to do that myself.”
Kuchta was a two-time Lorain County Division III Coach of the Year and was the 2015 Division III Northeast Lakes District Coach of the Year.
“We thank coach Kuchta for his years of service to our program and wish him well in his next coaching endeavor,” Elyria Catholic athletic director Jack Duffy said in a statement.
According to Kuchta, Baldwin Wallace head coach Tom Heil has indicated that he will be involved in all phases of the program, including recruiting and preparing game plans and practices.
The Kuchta family probably has the dates Jan. 16 and Feb. 6, 2019 circled on the calendar.
That’s when Phil will be on the Yellow Jackets bench coaching against his son Jake, who plays at Ohio Athletic Conference rival John Carroll.