By Dan Truttschel/Sports Correspondent

Since high school coaching found its way into my life in 2002, there have been a few stops along the way and jobs at a variety of levels.

I’ve been an eighth-grade coach, a varsity assistant, a JV coach and even an acting head coach in two sports, but until this year, the position of varsity assistant basketball coach had yet to find its way onto my resume.

It was quite the journey the last four months at Wilmot, but one that I enjoyed and likely soon won’t forget.

If we’re being totally honest, I never saw the promotion to being Wilmot head coach Jake Erbentraut’s assistant coming when we sat down to review last season.

At the time, I was his JV coach, and of course, as a member of the staff, had a hand in the varsity team’s activities. But my main role was with the younger group.

And we didn’t fare well at all, to the tune of a 3-17 rec-ord. But Erbentraut, who I’ve known since his days at Badger High School, wanted to shuffle the deck so to speak and have me work with him.

Of the three sports that I coach at Wilmot: football, basketball and softball, I will be the first to admit that bas-ketball is probably the one where I struggle the most. I’m getting better at the X’s and O’s, and I know the game, but it really isn’t my strength.

So that being said, there’s a lot for me to learn, and that certainly was the case in the season that just ended two weeks ago.

But I think it was a good fit. My job was to motivate, be a calming influence when the head coach got after the boys, and basically do what he needed to get done.

In other words, be an assistant. And having a role with the main event every night was a joy. The kids themselves, many of whom I coached at the JV level, had little trouble adjusting to having me around (or at least I think they had little trouble), and we seemed to have chemistry right from the start.

Where we go from here remains to be seen. There are 10 seniors leaving this pro-gram that finished at 17-6 overall and just three kids re-turning next year. That means it’s time to get back to work soon.

Even though we’ll be young, if I know Erbentraut, we won’t settle and we won’t lower our expectations. He has set the bar high around here, and there’s still plenty of work to be done.

Unless you win the state title, and that’s always the goal, there’s always a way to improve. And that’s what we plan on doing.

 

Girls take another step

Speaking of success, what else can be said about the job that Wilmot girls coach Keiya Square and his staff has done with that group?

Square has led his team to two straight conference titles and two straight regional titles, including the deepest run in the program’s history to the sectional final Saturday afternoon.

While the outcome wasn’t favorable, that group has nothing to be ashamed of, that’s for sure. The under-sized Panthers battled, scratched and clawed their way all season, but just ran into a better team in the last game before the state tournament.

Judging by the talent I saw in the feeder schools, the cupboard is far from bare for this group. While it’s always tough to bid seniors farewell, there’s always new faces entering on the horizon.

And something tells me, there are even bigger days ahead. In fact, I wouldn’t bet against it.

 

 
 

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