Ryan Vasquez has worn many coaching hats over the past 13 years.
He's now set to wear one that he's coveted all along – head coach of a varsity sport at his alma mater.
On Wednesday, Vasquez accepted the varsity girls basketball coaching position at Sterling High School. His hiring will be officially approved at the May 28 school board meeting.
"This is why I've been building my résumé, to try to get to the top," said Vasquez, a 2001 SHS graduate. "I feel I've grown as a coach, and this is the opportunity I've been looking for."
Vasquez is replacing Julie Schroeder, who stepped down after this past season. Her teams won 142 games the seven seasons she was in charge.
Vasquez, 31, has extensive experience coaching boys basketball. He coached middle school and junior high basketball in Sterling from 2001-2004, then worked at the high school level (freshman, sophomore and varsity assistant) from 2007-2013.
He also coached the Sauk Valley Predators semi-pro team, as an assistant in 2011-12 and head coach in 2012-13. He noted taking over a girls team will be no adjustment at all.
"Basketball is basketball," he said. "All the X's and O's are the same."
Vasquez plans to meet with returning players on Friday to lay out summer plans and what will be expected of them.
When asked what style the Golden Warriors will use, Vasquez didn't hesitate.
"I've always preached defense," Vasquez said, "and that is going to be a staple of our team. Defense is what wins championships, and that is what we are going to emphasize."
There were eight out-of-district candidates for the job, according to Sterling Athletic Director Greg King, but none were interviewed for the job. Vasquez, who has worked in the technology department at Sterling High School since 2012, was the in-house candidate he had pegged for the job.
"Ryan is a young coach who has worked his way up the ranks," King said, "and he's one of the hardest-working assistant coaches I've ever been around. He's been a head coach of a semi-pro basketball team. It was kind of a no-brainer."
High school: Sterling (2001)
College: Ashford (2007)
FYI: Hired as Sterling High School varsity girls basketball coach. ... Coached boys basketball (2001-04 and 2007-13) and football (2001-04 and 2006-13) at various levels in Sterling. ... Coached 2 years with Sauk Valley Predators semi-pro team. ... Works in technology department at SHS