Tonawanda News — Influence is a powerful tool.
Whether it’s a parent passing along sage advice to a son or daughter, or a teacher mentoring a student, people make an impact on others every day.
In sports, the coach-athlete dynamic tends to be most educational for younger players. But it helps to have veteran leaders; players who teach the younger, less experienced players work habits, leadership skills and knowing what to do in game situations.
Such is the case of Ben Stich.
Stich, a senior guard for the Tonawanda Warriors, is finishing up his third season on the Warriors’ varsity squad and was named as a team captain prior to the 2013-14 campaign. He also helped lead the Warriors to back-to-back ECIC IV titles in 2011 and 2012, and one trip to the Section VI semifinals at Buffalo State College.
But none of those accolades would have been possible without the wisdom and guidance from Warriors coach Hank Hughes.
“Coach Hughes has definitely been a great source of help to me throughout my career,” Stich said. “When I was called up to varsity in my sophomore year, I was a little skeptical about it at first. But he told me that he wanted me on the team so I could practice against better players every day.
“He works with me all the time during the summer and has said that I’m his right-hand man on the court. He’s been great for me.”
Hughes considers himself lucky to have had Stich for three years.
“As a person, I think Ben’s a great individual,” Hughes said. “He has a very high grade in my government class and he’s very dedicated to his studies. As a player, he’s accepted every single role that we’ve asked him to do since his sophomore year. From being a depth player that season to becoming a playmaker last year, and now being more of a scorer and a leader, he’s done everything he possibly can.”