After growing up on a farm, Jeff Hans ’99 wanted to study agriculture in college, and he chose Wilmington over Ohio State due to the small-school environment.
However, while on the Clinton County campus, Hans discovered his future career – coaching. His coaching career path reached the proverbial mountaintop this season as Hans led the Thomas More Saints women’s basketball team to the 2014-15 NCAA Division III National Championship.
His first taste of coaching came during his junior year as he assisted the junior high program at Clinton-Massie Middle School. From there, it was full-speed ahead a couple years at a time.
Hans spent two seasons at WC before moving to Northern Kentucky University (one season, graduate assistant), Indiana State University (two seasons, assistant coach), St. Henry High School (two seasons, head coach), Lexington Catholic (two seasons, head coach), Northern Kentucky University (two seasons, assistant coach), and now he has just completed his fourth season as the head coach at Thomas More.
Long-time Quakers coach Jerry Scheve remembers Hans’ time at WC well.
“Jeff was a big part of our first NCAA Tournament team and also recruited most of the seniors that made up the core of our National Championship team,” Scheve said. “It was obvious then that he was an excellent coach and an excellent recruiter. Together with the experience he later got at both the Division II and the Division I levels, it was obvious that he would be very successful in this profession.”
Hans, who helped recruit WC Hall of Famer Tara Rausch, along with Brittney Morris, Emily Cummins and Amy Kincer, speaks highly of his time in Wilmington.
“I learned how to recruit this level,” he said. “I learned how to get players to buy into playing for each other, the team and the school.”
Not only did Hans find his career path at WC, but also he found the love of his life. Shortly after Stacee (Smith) Hans ’99 transferred from Transylvania to Wilmington, the pair met and started dating. They married and have two children, Kailynn (10) and Keira (7).
Stacee played three seasons under Scheve at Wilmington. She is third all-time with 105 blocks.
Being married to a former student-athlete has benefited Hans because his wife fully understands the time requirements on a coach and the program.
“It was the best decision I’ve ever made,” said Hans. “It’s special to meet someone you come to love and marry, especially in college.”
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