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Westland Roundup

Vayansky named basketball coach

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After Seth Martin resigned as Westland High School boys basketball coach to take over the Logan girls program, he offered assistant Scott Vayansky a position with the Chieftains.

Having developed a bond with the Cougars in his only season, Vayansky declined so he could take over the Westland program.

Vayansky, 41, is expected to receive school board approval at its meeting Monday, July 14.

"I'm excited," he said. "I've been working with them, so we have things going. It hasn't been much of a transition for me or the kids. Seth asked me to go with him and I thought about it for a few minutes, but in reality I really didn't want to coach girls and it's far traveling. I formed a bond with the guys at Westland and I wanted to pursue that and see what we could do."

In its only season under Martin, Westland went 5-18 overall and 3-11 in the OCC-Central Division.

"I've been working with them the past month and we've had really good participation and good numbers," Vayansky said.

"We have to keep working to get better. We're not the most talented team, but the guys come in, they work hard and they want to be there."

Vayansky was the boys coach at Amanda-Clearcreek from 2005-11 and an assistant under Martin at Lakewood from 2011-13. He also was the junior varsity coach at Centennial from 2002-05.

He is a 1991 graduate of Yough High School in Herminie, Pa., a suburb of Pittsburgh, and a 1996 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh.

"I talked with the players and they were excited about his return," athletics director Greg Burke said. "I was looking to keep it as stable as possible and Scott was recently offered and accepted a position teaching at Alton Hall (Elementary School)."

Bittel takes over baseball program

Neil Bittel has been named baseball coach, pending school board approval Monday, July 14.

He replaces Dave Daniels, who resigned after 11 seasons.

This past season, Westland finished 0-24 overall and 0-14 in the OCC-Central.

"Going 0-24, there's only one way to go from here," Bittel said. "I consider myself a very energetic and passionate person and that's something I brought last year to the j.v. team. We have a lot of fun, but at the same time, we were there to put in work."

Bittel, 24, was a volunteer j.v. assistant last season. He is a 2012 graduate of the University of Kentucky and a special education teacher at Westland.

"When I first started teaching at Westland, I definitely wanted to get involved (in baseball)," he said. "I didn't know it was going to happen this quickly though, which is another great thing."

Bittel hopes to increase interest in the program, as this past season there were just 33 players for the varsity, j.v. and freshman teams. Other goals include raising funds to help repair the program's batting cage, improve field conditions and add bullpens.

Bittel, who also will coach wide receivers under first-year football coach Kyle Goebbel, played baseball and football at Dublin Coffman before graduating in 2008.

As a senior pitcher, he was named first-team all-state, all-district and all-league. One of his football teammates was Jake Stoneburner, who played tight end at Ohio State and is entering his second season with the Green Bay Packers.

The Westland and Coffman baseball teams compete in the OCC-Central and meet twice during the regular season.

"Coming from a program like Coffman and having (Coffman coach) Tim Saunders as a very influential part of my baseball and my overall development, if we can get anything close to what is going on over there over here we will definitely be successful," Bittel said.

"I talked to Tim Saunders and he is very high on him," Burke said of Bittel. "(Coffman football coach) Mark Crabtree is very high on Bittel as a football guy. He really interacts well with our kids. He's high energy. I'm very pleased about that."

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