Puckett Is Ready for ‘Next Step’
The news became official Tuesday. The Laramie Plainsmen have their new boys' basketball head coach. It's Ryan Puckett.
"It feels great. The wait is over. I'm very excited and ready for the challenge; time to go to work."
That's what Ryan Puckett said in a 1-on-1 interview with KOWB upon receiving his new opportunity.
Puckett becomes the second young head coach that Laramie High School has hired this spring. He's only 22, but is already embracing his new role.
"I go after it how I got it. The continued work and persistence... just a student of the game... they may have experience over me, but I'm going to out-work them. That's the way my team's mentality is going to be."
Returning All-State performer and senior-to-be Jake Aadland was excited about the new hire. He said,
"Coach Puck's been putting in a lot of work, and he deserves it. I grew up under (former Plainsmen head coach) Jason Mountain, and I don't think I've ever met anyone that works harder than him until I met Coach Puckett. He's a workhorse, and he doesn't stop working for us. He only wants the best for us."
His team's will be defensively oriented and emphasize rebounding, with a focus on being the best conditioned team. Puckett wishes to instill a level of toughness with his squads. He also believes the program he inherits is in good shape with a great foundation to build from.
"It's not where we want to be. Where we want to be is at the highest level of competition and success-wise... we're not going to end up here; every week, every day, we're going to get better."
The varsity team he takes over will have lost nine seniors. Aadland will be the lone returning starter, while fellow seniors-to-be Andrew Garcia and Lance Garland are returning lettermen. Garcia was a back-up point guard, while Garland played sparingly in a reserve role.
Puckett says this next group of seniors is very hungry. They're willing to put in the time and work.
Garland agreed, saying, "He's a lot like us, I think. He's got a good attitude; he's young; he's hungry and ready to win, just like us."
He's been labeled as a coach with energy and enthusiasm and won't be shying away from it.
"You're going to see the enthusiasm, the heart and the desire for the game, the kids and the program... just give them your best; that's what I'll do; that's what my team will do. Give your best and that's all anybody else can ask for," said Puckett.
He's already hit the ground running. As the "coach in-charge" this spring following Chuck Kern's resignation in late March, Puckett had to put the summer schedule together for the Plainsmen. They've already attended one camp and have more to come. Some will focus on the varsity, while other camps will be for the freshmen and sophomore levels only. In addition, he'll be hosting workouts, weight room sessions and open gyms.
Another key step will be putting together a new coaching staff. Puckett said they have some interest, but he doesn't want to comprise moving quickly for just settling on an assistant.
One thing is for sure, Ryan Puckett is ready to pour his heart and soul into his new job. He's the head coach of the Laramie Plainsmen basketball program.