Bowling Green native Evan Cerven has been named the new head girls basketball coach at Hannibal High School.

Evan Cerven was champing at the bit to get started as a high school head basketball coach.

Hannibal was in need of an energized leader to continue building its girls program that made strides the past three years under Ben Jamerson, who stepped down at the end of the season.

Cerven and Hannibal were a natural match.

“I want to build off all the positives that were set before me and create a really great atmosphere and work ethic for a family team so we can establish a solid program,” said Cerven, whose hire was announced Wednesday.

Cerven will be officially introduced next Tuesday.

Cerven is a 2011 graduate of Bowling Green High School, where he starred in football and basketball. He earned an education degree while playing football at Truman State University in Kirksville. 

The 24-year-old has spent the past school year teaching full-time with the Warren County School District, where he was an assistant coach for football and girls basketball at Warrenton High School. 

The Hannibal squad Cerven inherits expects to return all but one player from this past season, when the Lady Pirates finished 8-18. Juniors Autumn Bigsby and Keri Bareis joined sophomore Kaylee Falconer as team captains over the winter. 

“We're going to depend on the seniors we've got to really carry the water early and set the tone for what I want to do and how they want to be successful,” Cerven said. “We've got to figure out what their goals are too so they can take leadership.” 

Cerven mentioned he is looking forward to working with the players this offseason so they are ready to roll once next season gets underway in November.

The first-time head coach will teach physical education at the middle school along with his coaching duties next school year.

“There are a lot of really good athletes, so I'm excited to get to work with those girls as soon as I can,” he said of his new team. “The athleticism is there. We've just got to work on improving our fundamentals. I'm excited to see what these girls can do.” 

Warrenton hosted Hannibal in a regular-season tournament before traveling here for districts in February.

Cerven noted this gave him plenty of opportunities to see the team he now is charged with leading.

“From what I hear, the community is really excited to see the girls program match what kind of success the boys program has been generating,” Cerven said. “I would like to mirror what those guys are doing and their commitment and eventually get my program going along the same lines. I'm definitely willing and hoping to make that happen.”

The Bowling Green native cherishes the chance to return close to home.

“I've grown up in the area, so this is my way to get back home and give back to the community I've been part of,” he said.