Westfield High School senior Gus Fanter is a self-described basketball nerd.
“Every guy, it doesn’t matter if you’re great at basketball or never played basketball, everybody in the community does Student Impact,” Fanter said.
Student Impact is a faith-based organization in Westfield that works to build relationships with students. It offers spots leagues, such as basketball.
Fanter has coached since he was a freshman, He coached in the seventh and eighth-grade league when he was a freshman. As a senior, he coached freshmen and sophomores.
Fanter, who played for a junior and senior team, was recently named the first Student Impact of Westfield Coach of the Year.
“I think I was well known around Student Impact being there for four years and talking to everyone,” Fanter said. “It was humbling to be the first person to get the trophy, which I was really excited about.”
Student Impact created the Coach of the Year Award to honor the many hours of community service that the coaches serve every season. Student Impact organizers asked the public, peers, players and parents/guardians to cast votes for the coaches, asking that they take into consideration their personal interactions with the coaches and the qualities such as “an individual that displays a positive attitude, encourages their team on and off the court, models good sportsmanship, communication and a commitment to their players that embody what Student Impact is at its core.”
Many of the coaches are high school students. Student Impact had more than 400 registered players and 90 coaches this past season.
Fanter’s team lost one game in the regular season and then lost by two points in the tournament semifinals to a team that was unbeaten.
“It doesn’t matter what background you are, you can show up Fridays and have fun, and that’s what’s great,” Fanter said. “This is the definitely the best option to play organized league basketball from seventh grade to senior year (in Westfield).”
Fanter, 18, said he enjoys creating relationships with the players he coaches.
“It’s not always about winning at the end of the day,” Fanter said. “It’s between competitive and fun. I try to have an impact on them where I can be a mentor for them for however long I can. I take pride in making an impact and being someone they can look up to and ask questions when they don’t know. If I can help them in anything in life, I try to make it happen.”