While Dan DeCrane wouldn’t trade his four years as Ready High School boys basketball coach for anything, part of him always wanted to return to his native northeast Ohio.
DeCrane is getting that chance, as he was named coach at Gates Mills Gilmour Academy in suburban Cleveland on June 18.
The move comes after a season in which DeCrane guided the Silver Knights to a 20-5 record, a share of their first CCL championship since 2002 and a Division III district runner-up finish.
“There had been some mutual interest through some contacts at Gilmour. We thought it might be a good fit,” DeCrane said. “My former coach (at Akron Hoban), T.K. Griffith, encouraged me to reach out. My wife (Katie) and I are both Akron natives and we saw an opportunity to come back to this area. It’s a great opportunity for her (nursing) career and great for mine. We have three young daughters and that was a big thing, too, to have them near both sides of their family.
“This felt like a good fit.”
DeCrane told his Ready players he was leaving during practice June 18. He was announced as Lancers coach later that afternoon.
“He uses the basketball court to teach life lessons and his players buy in,” Gilmour Academy athletics director Sean O’Toole told Cleveland.com. “He is a fierce competitor with his priorities in order. He will be an incredible addition to our athletic department.”
DeCrane, a 2003 graduate of Hoban, went 44-50 in four seasons at Ready. The Silver Knights went 4-19 in his first season of 2014-15, 6-16 the next season and 14-10 in 2016-17 before starting last season 10-0.
Ready went 6-2 in the CCL to tie Hartley for first place, ahead of DeSales and St. Charles (both 1-7).
Seeded third in the district tournament, the Silver Knights lost to top-ranked and top-seeded Harvest Prep 64-48 in a district final.
“That first year … you don’t like to lose, but in winning four games, I learned a lot about myself as a coach and a leader,” said DeCrane, who was named Division III district Coach of the Year last season. “We set our standards high as a program. To win such an established and well-renowned league was extremely special. To be able to start with this (senior) class as freshmen and see how they grew was extremely special. This opportunity (to coach at Gilmour Academy) was just too good to pass up.”
DeCrane served as an assistant coach at Akron East, Hoban and Lakewood St. Edward before coming to central Ohio. He was an assistant to Randy Kortokrax at Hartley for three seasons before leaving for Ready, where he taught social studies and was girls golf coach for his first three years.
This past year, DeCrane also served as Ready’s assistant athletics director.
At Gilmour Academy, he will work in the college guidance office.