Even before his own playing career had ended, Mike Grassel knew he wanted to follow his father's lead.
"It's always something I had in the back of the my mind," Grassel said of becoming a head coach. "I didn't see it playing out quite this quickly."
At age 29, Grassel's goal has become reality. He was named Dallastown's new boys' basketball coach last month.
Grassel has spent six years in the Wildcats program, including the past three as the junior varsity coach. He replaces Troy Smeltzer, who resigned after compiling a 46-29 record over three seasons.
"The transition has been smooth," Grassel said. "I'm just trying to build off of what (former coach Jay Rexroth) and Troy built there.
"I know the kids, being in the program. The kids have been great. The parents have been very supportive."
Grassel has the advantage of knowing pretty much every level of Dallastown's program. He coached for three years at the junior high level, before bumping up to JV coach/varsity assistant after Smeltzer was hired.
Grassel pointed out that he's been coaching Dallastown's rising junior class since they were seventh-graders.
The new coach will inherit a program that qualified for the state playoffs two years ago.
The Wildcats will have to replace four full-time starters from that group, including its entire frontcourt. Still, Dallastown had one of the area's top JV teams last year, a reflection of what Grassel sees as a strong foundation moving forward.
"We're young. We don't have a lot of experience," Grassel said. "That being said, these guys are like sponges. They work hard. They take direction really well. They've progressively been getting better over the last months."