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Saint Joe and Washington make hoops coaching decisions

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - The spring season has brought plenty of coaching changes to high schools in the area, and that continued with a couple South Bend decisions made regarding the hardwood.

Saint Joseph High School announced an internal promotion for the vacant girls basketball job, hiring Becca Bruszewski to replace Sydney Smallbone as head coach.

Bruszewski is no stranger to the local hoops scene, growing up in Valparaiso and playing at Notre Dame from 2007 until 2011. She was a captain her senior season, helping lead the Irish to the Final Four.

She joined the Indians staff this past season to help coach the post players, and has also led local basketball camps and AAU teams in the area.

"I've always had a great deal of respect for the Saint Joseph girls' basketball program, even going back to my high school days," Bruszewski said in a school statement. "I'm grateful to [Smallbone] for bringing me on as a part of her staff and I'm ecstatic to be chosen as her successor."

Smallbone stepped down earlier in April to focus on her expanded role at Whirlpool and her pursuit of an MBA at Notre Dame. She coached two seasons at Saint Joe and captured a 3A State Championship in 2017.

"She did a great job of getting the Indians another state championship," said Bruszewski, "and I'm honored to follow in her footsteps. I'm focused on another opportunity for a run down to Indy."

"Becca brings great experience, intensity, and passion to our program," Saint Joe athletic director Debbie Brown said. "I'm thrilled that she will step in and continue leading our student-athletes towards excellence in all they do."

On the Westside, things are staying the same for Washington boys hoops but there is a title change at the top.

Ryan Varga led the Panthers last season under an interim tag, but he has been promoted to the full-time head coach.

The SBCSC released a statement about the decision, saying the district athletic director Seabe Gavin, Washington athletic director Garland Hudson, and Washington principal John Kennedy all collaborated and made the decision with "no reservations."

"The SB Washington Athletic Department is excited to have Ryan Varga join the "family" and looks forward to the lasting impact he will have on Washington High School and its student athletes!"

In his first season at the helm, Varga led the Panthers to a 15-8 regular season record and an 8-4 mark in conference play.

He's a South Bend native, playing four seasons at Clay High School before earning education degrees from Valparaiso and Ball State.

These two basketball hires were joined by another in the football landscape, with Mishawaka naming Keith Kinder its new head coach.

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