There aren't many places where Adam Vincenzo feels more comfortable than on a basketball court.

Entering his first season as Delaware Hayes boys basketball coach, he grew up in St. Clairsville, where his father, Bob, was an assistant coach. He spent so much time in a gym with his father that it almost seems like a second home to him.

"I've been in the gym basically since I could walk," said Vincenzo, a 2005 St. Clairsville graduate and 2009 Wheeling Jesuit graduate. "It's something that's natural for me. It's definitely in my calling. (Being a basketball head coach) is something I've always wanted. It's definitely a dream come true and a lifelong goal, something I've worked for for a long time. It's an opportunity I will not take for granted."

Vincenzo recently took over as Pacers coach after having served as an assistant under Jordan Blackburn the past three seasons. Blackburn stepped down as coach Aug. 23 following a 10-year tenure in which the Pacers went 142-88.

Delaware, which posted a program-record 21 wins in the 2013-14 season and was a district runner-up in 2014-15, finished 17-7 overall and placed third (9-5) in the OCC-Cardinal Division last season. The Pacers lost to Olentangy Orange 68-59 in a second-round Division I district tournament game.

"(We liked Vincenzo's) work ethic, knowledge of the game and our program, respect level from the players (and his) organization and communication within and outside of our program," athletics director Steve Glesenkamp said.

Vincenzo was a guard for St. Clairsville, earning second-team all-league honors as a senior.

He began coaching at the youth and AAU levels shortly after graduating from high school and later had stints as an assistant at McMechen (West Virginia) Bishop Donahue and St. Clairsville before spending two years as an assistant with the Wheeling Jesuit men's program.

Vincenzo and his wife, Michelle, moved to central Ohio after she was hired by the Olentangy school district, where she serves as an invention specialist at Berlin. He was hired by Delaware last year as a social studies teacher.

"I was able to get on staff with Jordan right when I moved up here and I feel fortunate to have had him bring me on board and the trust he had in me," Vincenzo said. "Everything fell into place. I taught back home for five years as well, so I kind of relocated and eventually got the teaching job."

Vincenzo joined Blackburn's coaching staff when seniors Paul Burris, Nate Griggs and Addison Harvey were freshmen.

The rest of the staff under Blackburn last season has returned, albeit in different roles after Vincenzo served as junior varsity coach a year ago.

"I like to play to our personnel and our personnel lines up with a lot my philosophies," Vincenzo said. "The relationships with the players that I've already built is a nice luxury to have. Just being able to help those guys is something I've worked for. I feel as fortunate as can be. We have three seniors (Burris, Griggs and Harvey) that will be four-year letterwinners and are foundations of our program. We have the same staff with everyone who has been a part of the program, and that also really helps with the transition."

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek