Saugatuck/Douglas Commercial Record Sports

Rock named Saugatuck varsity boys basketball coach

By Jason Wesseldyk
Sports Editor
During his tenure as head coach of the Fennville varsity boys basketball team, Ty Rock had a front-row seat for the rivalry between the Blackhawks and Saugatuck.
Now, he’ll experience that rivalry from the other side.
Rock is the new head coach of the Saugatuck boys basketball team. He replaces Brian Ward, who resigned the post following the 2023-24 campaign.
Following his three-season stint in Fennville from 2019-2022, Rock served as JV boys coach at West Ottawa for a year before helping out at the middle school level in Holland this past season.
“I really missed having a program that I could develop with my own values and characteristics,” Rock said of his decision to return to the varsity level. “I missed the grind, the hard work of developing basketball players and creating a culture that resembles my core values of work ethic, togetherness, toughness and joy.
“Saugatuck was very forward and posted the position early and contacted me to gauge interest. They expressed how I would be a great fit and really made me feel valued. Once I saw that enthusiasm and how apparent they wanted me to be their coach, the decision was easy.”
In addition to coaching against Saugatuck at Fennville, Rock also played against the Trailblazers during his high school days at Gobles.
“I had established relationships already within the Saugatuck community, which made the process and decision easier,” Rock said.
Saugatuck athletic director Anthony Grech is excited to see where Rock will lead the program.
“It was clear when we interviewed Ty that his vision for the program both in building on the culture Brian Ward started and his passion for both basketball and athletics as a whole is one that fits with Saugatuck athletics overall,” Grech said. “
“Ty has a championship mentality. He knows that he is taking over a young group, yet he has high expectations. I love the way he works with athletes, and I am excited to see the program grow. I have no doubt that the Saugatuck basketball program is in good hands.”
While Rock has only had a handful of days to work with his players at this point, he already likes what he sees.
“My early impressions of the Saugatuck program and players is we have a lot of athletes,” he said.
Rock also recognizes that there will be a learning curve as the players adjust to his philosophy and leadership style.
“There will be growing pains and adversity to fight through,” he said. “But I am confident that the group of guys can take a big step and take this program to a new level.”
When it comes to his long-term goal of the program, Rock needed just a single word to sum it up: compete.
“Our goals for this program is to compete,” he said. “There will be big changes with the culture and how we do things. With these big changes there may be hiccups along the way, but I truly think we should be competing for a conference title and a district title every season.
“Our vision is to create a culture for our program that puts us in the conversation to win many games and many championships. In order to accomplish this, one of my big goals is to create and develop a well-organized and dynamic youth program that will allow our program to be successful at all levels.”
In order to see his vision for the program become a reality, Rock knows he will need the support of the Saugatuck community.
From what he’s experienced so far, he doesn’t think that will be an issue.
“There’s a real sense of loyalty from everyone I’ve met,” he said. “It’s nice to know that everyone from families, players, coaches, administrators, community members and alumni really support us. I’m excited about the opportunity.”
Rock has also received support from several people he met during his stint in Fennville.
“I’ve been contacted by families, players and alumni from Fennville congratulating me on my new role,” he said. “Even though it is a rivalry, there has been nothing but kind words and support still from those families and individuals.
“As for when we play Fennville, the coach and competitor in me will come through. I want to compete. I think it will be a great atmosphere and I look forward to seeing familiar faces even if it’s on the other side.”

Leave a Reply