As Zack Orchant neared the end of his swimming career at York College, he decided it was time to turn back to the first love of his childhood — basketball.
A distance freestyler, Orchant didn’t play basketball in high school and college. But once his own competitive swimming days were over, he felt the urge to get into coaching basketball.
Orchant’s journey has now earned him his first varsity job as he was officially named Park View’s boys’ basketball coach on Monday. For someone who grew up in Loudoun County and has resided there for nearly 20 years, it feels like an ideal fit.
“It’s new, exciting, but it’s nothing I’m unfamiliar with,” Orchant said. “I’ve been in Loudoun County forever.”
Orchant’s first high school basketball position was with Briar Woods in 2009, when he was an assistant and the head junior varsity coach. In 2011, he accepted the JV job at McLean . He got his start coaching youth basketball and is the league president of the Two Ridges Basketball League in Ashburn.
At Park View, Orchant replaces Michael Koscinski, who stepped down during the offseason after six years at the helm in Sterling. The Patriots finished 1-22 last winter and are 14-56 over the last three seasons. Park View went a combined 37-36 in Koscinski’s first three seasons.
Park View athletic director Jason Testerman said he was immediately impressed with Orchant upon interviewing him. Being a local from Loudoun County involved with youth basketball helps, Testerman said, because of the relationships he has with those in the area.
“It’s big for us, just knowing coaches, people in the feeder systems and the relationships,” Testerman said. “We’re trying to build the program back up and put a big emphasis on the feeder and youth programs.”
Orchant will start the rebuilding process, he said, with a defensive minded approach he initially learned from former Briar Woods Coach Mike Benson. Orchant will look to mix various defenses based on the opponent in an attempt to control the tempo of the game.
“I’m very much a proponent of changing the pace and what you’ll see on each possession,” Orchant said.
Orchant is taking a long-term approach as he enters his first season, looking to maximize the potential of the players he’ll be inheriting.
“We’ll take the foundation and improve on it,” he said. “I don’t expect to go out of the gate and go 20-0. That’s unrealistic. But I think just below .500 would be a realistic stretch goal. We have to focus, hunker down and build the work ethic. It’s going to take time.”