The Castleton men’s basketball team has a fresh face on the bench this year. No, it’s not a new recruit or walk-on, it’s assistant coach Jason Kratky.
Coming into this season, head men’s basketball coach Paul Culpo knew he needed to add some staff members after losing assistant coach Mike Shewmaker to a head coaching job at Norwich.
“I put an ad out online, and after sometime it became clear that he was the guy,” said Culpo, who also added former player Keith Schneider to the coaching staff earlier this month.
Kratky was quick to credit Culpo when asked about what drew him to Castleton.
“He just seemed the most up front, honest, you know blunt … so I related to that immediately,” Kratky says of his first interaction with Culpo. He also gave praise to the Castleton University website.
This will be Kratky’s first coaching job since graduating from Kent State in December of last year. His lack of experience is also a strength though, according to Culpo.
“He brings a fresh set of eyes,” Culpo said of Kratky’s strengths as a coach. “I feel that’s always a good thing to have.”
Kratky himself feels he can bring something new to the staff in how he creates bonds between the players.
“The main thing I’m going to bring this year to this team is true togetherness, brotherhood, and trust in each other to win games,” he said.
He also said his focus on defense as a coach could help the team get out on the break more and play the high tempo offense Culpo likes to run.
The players seem to agree as well. Sophomore guard Taurian Archie said, “I like him. I think he’ll be really good for our team and I think he’ll bring something to the table to help us.”
Transfer guard Chris O’Brian had similar thoughts on the new coach stating.
“He seems like an interesting character, but in a good way. He seems like he is gonna bring a new energy and a new vibe to the team and I’m excited to get started,” O’Brien said.
The players aren’t the only ones excited to get started either. Kratky said he has been getting himself pumped up for practices all week.
The basketball side of being here isn’t the only thing exciting him either. Being in the Castleton area and meeting all new people has been one of his favorite parts of making the 600-mile trek east.
“You can’t get through life by yourself so I think meeting people is the biggest thing. That has opened my eyes to Vermont,” he said
The men’s basketball team season opener is Nov. 15 at home against Skidmore.