Agler follows in his dad’s footsteps


Jason Howell

Assistant head coach for the women’s basketball team Bryce Agler observes practice on Monday in Lantz Arena. The Panthers take on Milwaukee at noon Wednesday on the road.

Bob Reynolds, Staff Reporter

Being around basketball for most of his life, Bryce Agler wanted to follow in his dad’s footsteps and he is on the right track.

Bryce was hired as the Eastern women’s basketball assistant coach during the summer by current coach Debbie Black.

Bryce’s dad, Brian, has been in the coaching ranks at almost every level of basketball since 1984, starting with the Junior College level and now is currently the head coach and General Manager of the WNBA’s Seattle Storm.

Growing up in Ohio, Bryce had the luxury to be coached by his dad for the majority of his basketball career up until he got into college.

Bryce attended the College of Wooster for one season and then transferred to his dad’s alma mater at Wittenberg University, where he played for a year and went on to coaching Wittenberg as a student-coach and also was coaching for AAU at the All-Ohio Nike.

During the times coaching at Wittenberg, Bryce’s teams had a 38-18 record over two seasons.

Also, last season, his Wittenberg team went to the NCAA Division III Tournament.

Bryce said that with his dad being a coach has helped a ton with where Bryce is at currently.

“It helped a lot, just because I learned so much living with him,” he said. “Even when I wasn’t trying to learn stuff, I absorbed it.  I learned a lot growing up with him as my father and now it helps a lot too because I can always bounce ideas off him. He is always giving me tips. Growing up was the biggest advantage for me because I learned so much that got me here now.”

During Bryce’s senior year, he was looking for jobs, such as an assistant coach or a video coordinator and found out that Eastern had a job opening.

“They wanted someone with recruiting ties, and I have connections to the AAU program,” Bryce said. “They thought I would be a good fit. I am young. They wanted someone younger that could relate with the players.”

Black had ties with Bryce’s dad over the years, with getting to know him through Black’s basketball days in the ABL and the WNBA.

Black said the one thing that she likes about Bryce is that he wants to gain all the knowledge that he can.

“He brings a youthfulness to us that we need,” she said. “He can work on the practice squad. He obviously knows social media, which is huge for us in this day and age.”

Black said that Bryce has been great adapting to the team outside of the gym as well.

“I think the relating factor in this business is important,” she said. “It’s nice to have someone that can relate to 18-22 year olds. They know what is hip and what is going on.”

With Bryce being 23 years old and just out of college, he is able to adapt to the college lifestyle and help the members of the team with any school-related issues.

While saying it is fun to hangout with the team, Bryce also said it is also fun to work with them.

“I like our team, I like the kids,” he said. “They are always wanting to learn more. They are business when it means business, but are also family off the court. I enjoy that aspect.”

With being around his dad through his entire life and how much his dad has helped him grow as a person and become a successful basketball coach, Bryce said the biggest influence in his life is his dad.

“I learned almost everything from him,” he said. “He is big on defense and I am big on defense. Everything I know about basketball is from my dad.”

Bryce added that he learned to have a good work ethic from his father, growing up.

“Everything starts from a good work ethic,” he said. “If you have a good work ethic, you can accomplish almost anything you put your mind too. I think that has carried over to me coaching as well. I think that is the best lesson that I learned from him.”


Bob Reynolds can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]