Glasser steps away, Benard takes over GPS boys basketball

By: Zachary Manning | Grosse Pointe Times | Published April 30, 2019

 Former Grosse Pointe South coach Troy Glasser stands by the bench during a game this past season. Glasser stepped down after six seasons with the Blue Devils.

Former Grosse Pointe South coach Troy Glasser stands by the bench during a game this past season. Glasser stepped down after six seasons with the Blue Devils.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

 New Grosse Pointe South boys basketball coach Steve Benard applauds his Warren Lincoln team during the 2015-16 season. Benard coached at Lincoln for two seasons.

New Grosse Pointe South boys basketball coach Steve Benard applauds his Warren Lincoln team during the 2015-16 season. Benard coached at Lincoln for two seasons.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

GROSSE POINTE FARMS –– Heading into the 2013-14 boys basketball season, Grosse Pointe South was a program looking for answers.

The Blue Devils were coming off a season near the bottom of the Macomb Area Conference Blue Division and only won five games.

Then South handed the keys over to Troy Glasser, who immediately began to steer the program in the right direction. In his first season with the Blue Devils, they won 15 games and claimed the MAC Blue title.

Over the next few seasons, Glasser and the Blue Devils continued their winning ways and even pushed themselves up to the MAC Red for a couple of seasons. Last year, South finished 11-11 overall and third in the MAC White.

However, this past season was Glasser’s last with the program, as he decided to step down to spend more time with family. During his tenure with the program, Glasser collected a 70-57 record and won two MAC Blue titles.

“We made some good strides,” Glasser said. “We got the program to be respectable and be competitive in the divisions.”

Glasser hasn’t ruled out coaching again, but for now, he wants to step away from the game.

“Never say never; I’m just taking a break now,” Glasser said. “The coaching becomes a 12-month gig, so I’ll just take a little break.”

With Glasser gone, South has now handed the reins over to Steve Benard. Benard is no stranger to the program. He coached the junior varsity boys team during the 2014-15 season.

Benard also coached the Madison Heights Madison varsity girls in 2013-14, leading the Eagles to a 17-5 overall record and a MAC Silver title. His most recent stop was two seasons with the Warren Lincoln boys varsity team. He went 19-23 with the Abes in 2015-16 and in 2016-17.

Since taking over April 15, Benard said, he and Glasser have spoken about the program, personnel and other issues involving the team.

“I coached under Troy, so he’s a friend of mine, and we’ve been in constant communication all year,” Benard said. “We’ve had good communication since I got the position, which is good. It’s strong for the program to keep the communication high. That’s one of my strengths I think I’m going to bring to the program is going to be a high level of communication from freshman all the way up to the varsity level.”

Benard is hoping to be able to use his experience to continue building off the success the program has seen over the last few seasons.

The Blue Devils will lose four seniors from last year’s team along with Daryl Houston, who Benard said will be transferring. However, he’s still excited about the group that he has.

Benard and the Blue Devils will have a few key players back, including current freshman Will Johnson, junior Alex Shaheen and sophomore Thomas Hessburg.

“I want to kind of emulate the two top programs at South, which they have a lot of great programs there, but the baseball and the football program, where it’s a continuity thing,” Benard said. “The freshman, the JV teams are doing a majority of what the varsity team is doing, so it’s all second nature by the time they get to the varsity level.

“Try to have the varsity coach, myself, be involved with the younger age groups, so they get to know me and I get to know the players. Have a smooth transition and have a transition that works for everybody, so you can really help with the development and have a plan for each kid that’s in your program.”