Homestead special education teacher Sean Crider is now the new Highlanders boys basketball coach.

In making the hire, the Mequon/Thiensville School District achieved what it had stated recently as a major goal, linking the coaching position with a teaching slot in the school. He will succeed Kevin McKenna who had held the position the four previous seasons.

"I'm really looking forward to this," said Crider, a 2005 graduate of Ball State University and native of Indiana. "School is going to start soon, and that's a good thing, because that will give me a chance to talk to the kids. They already know who I am, and I've had a chance get to know their families.

"I really appreciate being given this chance to be a head coach," he added. "It happened very quickly, very fast. I had originally planned to go back to Milwaukee Vincent (where he had been an assistant coach for the last four years), but Homestead appreciated my interest (in the head coach's position). I spoke to my wife at length about this, because it was a big decision. A family decision."

Though still young, Crider is an old Homestead hand. He was hired by then-athletics director Charlie Gross in 2006 to work in the recreation department. He worked his way into a hall supervisor's post and then from 2008-10 he went to school evenings to earn his teaching certificate at Cardinal Stritch. He has been teaching at Homestead since 2011.

His basketball and coaching experience is wide. He was a high school guard and while at Ball State, he coached AAU and middle school basketball teams. Also while at Ball State, where he earned a degree in sports administration, he worked at the Boys and Girls Club.

After getting to Homestead, he served as supervisor for the Slammers youth basketball program and the flag football programs. He put in his time as event manager for all kinds of sports and learned how to handle a scoreboard at basketball games.

He coached with the Highlander Basketball Club and then was brought on staff by then boys basketball coach Marquis Hines as freshmen coach in 2010-11. He was promoted to varsity assistant in 2011-12. When Hines went to Milwaukee Vincent a year later, Crider joined him as an assistant. As indicated, Crider intended to stay on with Vincent basketball had the Homestead opportunity not come up.

Crider said he learned a great deal from Hines, who won WIAA state titles with the Vincent girls team (2007, 2008 and 2009)..

"I really did," said Crider. "(Hines) really preaches an emphasis on defense and conditioning. I don't really have a set basketball philosophy. I try to work around the talent of the kids, but conditioning and defense are going to be focal points for us because I admit to being something of a fitness freak." Along those lines, Crider said he would like to play a full-court style of game.

He also knows that the role of basketball coach involves more than just winning games.

"I know I'm not just a coach," he said. "This is also about caring for the kids, helping them become better men, better people."

Crider understands that caring concept fully, as he is the busy father of a 4-year old and a set of 1-year old twins.

He is again grateful for the opportunity. He said the leadership at Homestead is terrific and he is looking forward to working with new AD Erich Hinterstocker.

"We're starting together, both getting our feet wet," Crider said. "Hopefully, it'll all work out."