Bucheit takes over at HU

As a player in high school and college, Andy Bucheit learned the value of working hard.

Simply put, he needed to do it.

“I was never given anything as a player,” said Bucheit, who was a standout at La Salle High School in Cincinnati, and then at Wittenberg. “I wasn’t a guy that came in (to) high school and college and both coaches said, ‘Man, we’ve got to find a way to put Andy on the floor.’

“I was a guy that had to really work to get noticed,” he said.

As the new coach of Heidelberg’s men’s basketball program, Bucheit said he will look for that same type of desire from players.

“I think it’s huge, especially at this level,” Bucheit said. “There’s nothing that’s binding these guys to be here. They’re not signing a national letter of intent like at the Division II level or the Division I level. So if [former HU stars] Dane Givner of Nate Davis wanted to leave at anytime, they could … . It’s the love of the game that drives these guys to this level, and we’re trying to find those special guys that love it a little more than everybody else.”

Bucheit, who scored 951 points during his tenure at Wittenberg before graduating in 2005, comes to Heidelberg after a successful five-year tenure as an assistant at Marietta under head coach Jon VanderWal.

The Pioneers went 20-8 last year, winning the Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament for the second time in three seasons. Bucheit was promoted to the Pioneers’ associate head coach last year.

“It just felt to me like he was the right fit for Heidelberg,” said HU’s athletic director, Matt Palm. “[He’ll be] recruiting great people, bringing them into the program and having high expectations academically, personally and athletically.”

The Student Princes went 11-15 (6-12 OAC) last season under Anthony Gholson. Two challenges face Bucheit right away: First, Heidelberg lost its two best players from last season, 1,000-point scorers and seniors Davis and Givner. Second, Bucheit’s hiring comes late in the recruiting season.

Bucheit said he was on the phone with potential recruits just before sitting down for Tuesday’s interview.

“We’re gonna be aggressive,” Bucheit said. “I was on the phone talking to two recruits. All the paperwork was finalized today; I couldn’t do anything until today, and the second it was finalized I was picking up the phone, trying to get the few kids I know are out there, and find leads on some potential others.”

Before joining Marietta’s staff, Bucheit was a graduate assistant at Ashland University for a season.

Palm said he believes Bucheit is up to the challenge of building Heidelberg into a contender.

“He’s been through that as an assistant at Marietta, he was a part of that building process,” Palm said. “It didn’t happen overnight.”

Bucheit said he will be patient.

“It is our goal to compete on every single night and put ourselves in positions to be able to win those games every single night,” he said. “I’m also going to be a realist, and I know that it’s going to be a tough one for us next year, losing two guys (Davis and Givner) that were flat-out two of the top eight players in the league last year. It’s tough to replace those two guys.

“I’m not going to get carried away with my expectations for next year, but I do expect us to compete every single night and be in every single ballgame next year.”