Plum’s Elsier settles in as girls basketball coach
By: Michael Love
Sunday, September 3, 2017 | 11:00 PM
Steve Elsier finds himself in unfamiliar territory as the new Plum girls basketball coach, but he is not unfamiliar to coaching at the high school level.
Elsier, who was hired Aug. 22, spent the past eight seasons as boys coach at Biglerville, which is just north of Gettysburg in District 3.
As he becomes more familiar with his surroundings and his players, Elsier said his optimism grows. He first established the foundation when he met with the players and watched open gym workouts at the high school last week.
“I am very excited to get started,” Elsier said. “I look forward to implementing my system, keeping the numbers up and working with the feeder programs.”
The coaching search at Plum began in late June when Lindsy Muchnock resigned after a season with the Mustangs to become girls coach at Hempfield.
Elsier, a graduate of IUP, is a teacher by trade, but he works as an insurance agent who is involved with providing insurance to educators.
His job brought him to the Pittsburgh area.
His wife, Meghan, a Penn Hills native and 1998 graduate of Oakland Catholic, works for FedEx.
Elsier took a Biglerville boys program that won two games his first year and turned it into a district playoff qualifier two of the past three seasons. The team finished 13-9 last season in PIAA Class 4A and played in the postseason.
“It was a great fit for myself to come here to Plum,” he said. “It's a blessing, and it worked out really well. I know my wife is happy to be back in the Pittsburgh area.”
Elsier takes over a Plum team that lost several key contributors to graduation, including Section 4-5A all-star Maria Lawhorne, a freshman on the women's team at Division III Washington & Jefferson.
“There's a lot of youth,” Elsier said. “There's a lot of talent coming up through (the program).”
Plum hopes to build on last year's 10-13 record, which included a 6-6 mark in Section 4 and a trip to the WPIAL playoffs. The Mustangs lost to Trinity, 61-20, in the first round.
Only one senior — Jamie Denzer — is on the roster for the upcoming campaign.
“It's great to know that someone wants to take care of our team and develop our program,” Denzer said.
“Our team is very hard working, and we've been able to adapt to new systems, considering we've had a couple of different coaches over the past couple of years. I think it will be a good first season with him.”
Elsier said the transition from coaching a boys team to a girls program is an undertaking he is willing to accept without reservation.
“You have to coach the game the way it's supposed to be coached, whether it's boys or girls,” he said.
“On the girls side, fundamentals is huge. You don't have a ton of girls who are so athletic they can take over a game (single-handedly). You have to play a team game. You have to play fundamentally with great defense.”
In addition to the open workouts before the start of preseason practices in mid-November, Elsier said his players will have the opportunity to compete in one or two fall leagues.
Eliser understands basketball in the WPIAL is very competitive, and, he said, he is ready for the challenges and ready to help his team rise to those challenges.
“I think it will be a thing to see over the course of the first year, just to see how other coaches coach,” he said. “I learned quite a bit in District 3. There is tremendous coaching out there. I've seen it all and done it all, so I am able to prepare my teams better now than 10 years ago.”