Sep. 14—DALEVILLE — Never let it be said Ashley Fouch is one to shrink from a challenge.
The second-year boys basketball coach at Daleville will also return to her former job of leading the girls basketball program when the season gets underway later this year.
The move is pending school board approval, which Daleville athletic director Josh Hutchens expects to happen next week.
Fouch replaces her own replacement after the departure of Austin Earley following consecutive 6-16 campaigns.
She recognizes the challenges that go with being head coach for both teams but feels ready to tackle the season head-on.
"I've been watching the girls since I left, and there's plenty of potential there. It just hasn't been brought out of them yet," she said. "When (Hutchens) came into my office and asked if I wanted to do both, my first thought was, 'Ashley, you're crazy.' And I think that's what most people are going to think when they read that this is happening, which is fine. I'm super excited, it's familiar territory, and if there's anyone who knows both of these programs inside and out, it's me."
Fouch coached the boys team to a 14-10 record and advanced to the sectional championship before falling to eventual regional finalist Liberty Christian. She previously coached the Broncos' girls teams to a 31-39 mark over three seasons including the 2020 sectional title before departing for a year at Whiteland where her team finished 5-18 in 2021.
Fouch returned to Daleville as the first woman to coach boys basketball in area history and did so successfully. The community support she received during that unique undertaking helped give her the confidence she could take on another.
"If I can get through one unique situation, I can do it again," she said. "This community means so much to me, and I think everyone around here knows that."
There will be logistical issues for Fouch in taking on this dual role. Decisions about practice schedules have to be worked out as well as how to handle the rare occasions when both teams play on the same day.
"We were happily surprised that there wasn't as much overlap with competitions as there might be," Hutchens said. "The coaching staff is supporting her. ... We'll just make sure the support is there and that everyone is on the same page and the machine keeps moving."
Currently there are two boys-girls doubleheaders and just two other dates where the teams will play on the same day at different locations. Fouch said she has already given considerable thought to balancing practice schedules as well as the important role her assistant coaches will play in making this a successful undertaking.
"If I didn't have the support, I would be out," she said. "Joe Rench is going to be staying on as an assistant on the girls side, which is great because he's been around. This hasn't been approved yet, but Emi Isom is going to come back and she'll be coaching with me on the girls side, too. Those two on the girls is perfect for me. My (attention) is still going to be on the boys side. Nothing is changing for me. I'm going to be 100 with them all the time. I wouldn't be able to that without Joe and Emi lined up to be there for me."
Hutchens adds Fouch's confidence in herself helped him realize she would be the right person for the job.
"The motivation is there, the energy is there and obviously we wanted to make sure the support was there," he said. "The things that she does, the things that brings, that comes from the energy she has and the passion she has for the sport. ... On my end, if she feels she can do it, she's going to be honest, think about it and really be truthful with us and says she can do it, she's the one."
The Daleville girls open their season Nov. 5 with a home game against Anderson Prep.
Contact Rob Hunt at email@example.com or 765-640-4886.