Warr takes ahold of coaching reins at West Ranch High
For Scott Warr, stepping into the role of head coach for the West Ranch Wildcats has been a natural transition.
Named to the position this spring, he has been part of the program since it started with the debut of the L.A. Kings High School Hockey League (LAKHSHL) during the 2015-16 season, and he couldn’t be more excited about taking the next step leading the varsity program.
“I wouldn’t say I’m feeling any pressure because I’ve been involved with the program since Day 1,” Warr explained. “The team we have this year has sort of a mix of older guys and some younger guys coming in who will need to prove themselves. I think we’re going to have a lot of talent. I’m looking forward to some great things this season.”
Warr started as an assistant coach with West Ranch’s varsity team, and when the program added a junior varsity squad, he took over as that group’s head coach. Last year, he returned to the varsity as an assistant, and he was eager to take over the top job when the position became available this spring.
He’s familiar with all program’s returning players on both the varsity and junior varsity teams and expects that to make a huge difference in his ability to hit the ground running.
“I think it’s going to be a really good fit, especially with the coaching staff, because we’re all on the same page with everything we want to achieve,” Warr said. “It’s the same with the kids, too. The older players have been around long enough to know what we want to do, and I think they’ll be great mentors for the younger kids as well.”
Warr will be assisted on the varsity squad by Jeremy Visutsiri and works closely with JV head coach Matt Keef and his assistant, Dylan Matanzo.
He said his coaching style brings a lot of discipline to the ice – setting clear expectations and then following through to make sure players meet them.
“I make sure we always remember that this is high school hockey and we’re working with student-athletes,” he said. “We make sure that the kids understand that there’s a structure in place as soon as they arrive at the JV level and that there are certain expectations that come with wearing the West Ranch colors. That way, once they get to the varsity level, they’re used to the way we do things and what we expect out of each player.”
The Wildcats’ varsity team is coming off a difficult season in which they went 5-11, but is looking forward to the opportunity to turn things around. They were 7-8-1-1 in 2017-18, and the season before that finished second in the regular-season standings at 13-2-1-0 and played in the league semifinals.
While Warr is working to help get the program back to its winning ways, he also keeps it in the front of his mind that teaching life lessons to his players is his most important role.
“I own my own company, so I use a lot of my experience in business and bring it to the team,” Warr said. “I tell them to treat hockey like a job – if you don’t show up to your job, you’re going to get fired. We treat it like real life. We want to give them a sense of responsibility, so we prepare them for life after hockey because not all these kids are going to continue playing hockey competitively after high school.
“That approach from the coaching staff has been a tradition at West Ranch, and I’m just trying to carry that on as I move into the head coach’s shoes. We’re bound and determined to continue the traditions we’ve built here in our short history, and I’m excited about the opportunity to play a role in that.”
Also of note in the LAKHSHL, roster spots are available on many of the league’s eight varsity and eight junior varsity teams. Interested players should inquire with the team in their area.
— Greg Ball
(Aug. 15, 2019)