RAYLAND?- Joel Nau has absolutely no experience coaching girls' sports.
However, the veteran mentor knows basketball and that's the most important part.
He'll get his first opportunity to coach girls this winter. He was hired Monday night by the Buckeye Local Board of Education as the new girls' basketball coach.
"I had a lot of these girls in class and they're really good kids," Nau said during a phone interview. "I just thought, for me, this would be a good fit."
Nau takes over for Willy Luther, who resigned after four years at the helm.
"I thought Willy did a great job," Nau said. "His team dealt with more injuries than anyone I can think of. I saw them play this season and they played hard every game and they were really aggressive."
Before formally applying for this job, Nau wrestled with the decision a good bit. He actually debated whether or not to apply
"I didn't need to get back into coaching, but I wanted to," Nau said. "We're going to teach, use basketball as an extension of the classroom and hopefully drill some things into our players that they can take with them off the court, while having fun at the same time."
Nau - a 1983 Wheeling Central High School graduate - has a long and impressive coaching resume.
After playing for hoop legends Skip Prosser and Dino Gaudio and with Doug Wojcik, Nau served as an assistant to Gene Ammirante at Bellaire for one season.
He then returned to his alma mater and worked under Jim "Dubie" Dailer for five years. He actually assumed control of the Knights' program and held the post for three years.
In 2001, Nau landed the Buckeye Local boys' post, which he held for seven years.
Since then, Nau has been raising his boys.
"I've got a much better perspective on things now that I am older," Nau said. "During my past coaching jobs, I've probably put too much focus on aspects that I didn't need to, so I think I've improved in that regard."
Included in his better perspective is how he gauges things. For instance, obviously wins and losses are important, but there are other areas that should be considered too when measuring success.
"Everything is relative," Nau said. "As long as the girls are playing hard and improving, that would be considered success."
Nau hopes to meet with his newly inherited group of players in the coming days and will get right to work with those not involved with a spring sport in open gyms and prepare for the summer season. He's also working to form a coaching staff.
"Basketball is basketball," Nau said of coaching girls compared to boys. "However, I'd like to get get some people on my staff who have some experience in dealing with the girls' game just to ease the transition a little more."