JV and Freshman basketball teams acquire new coaches


Credit: Credit: WSPN Staff

Former Wayland Varsity Basketball player Robert Williams dribbles down the court setting his team up for the next play. After graduating from Wayland High School, Williams has come back to coach the freshman basketball team. “I'm very excited to be back in town with the opportunity to coach,” Williams said.

Deirdre Brown and Lauren Medeiros

Heading into the 2020 boys basketball season, the Freshman and Junior Varsity teams welcomed two new coaches: Robert Willams(Freshman) and Coach Jay Johnson(JV).

Wellness teacher John Berry had been the boys freshman coach since 2008, and his colleague, math teacher Eric Wolven had been coaching the JV team since 2016. This year, the two coaches have decided that they would no longer be coaching due to time issues. The coaches expressed their sadness for longer being able to coach in the Wayland basketball program.

“During the winter, I have teaching which includes end of quarter two, midterms prep [and] midterm exams, as well as Student Council, which is hosting Winter Week, other events, and doing a bunch of stuff outside of school,” Wolven said. “With basketball thrown in that mix, I realized that I didn’t have enough time in the day to really give every aspect the time it deserved. Unfortunately, that meant I had to give up one of them, and basketball was the one that made the most sense.”

“Practice [this year] would be 3:30 to 5:00 p.m., and my son’s daycare closes at 5:00 p.m., so I would not be able to pick him up,” Berry said. “My wife works until 6:30 p.m., so I am responsible for picking him up. Last year I was able to make it because the practice was 2:30 to 4:00 p.m.”

This year, WHS graduate Robert Williams stepped up to coach for the freshman boys basketball team.

While at WHS, Williams played on different sports teams, including football and basketball. He played all four years of his high school career on a WHS basketball team. After trying out for basketball back in 2010, Williams made his first high school basketball team, and has been playing basketball for 16 years.

“I have been playing basketball my whole life, but was introduced to organized basketball when I was in second grade,” Willams said. “My freshman year at the high school, [in] 2010, I made the freshman basketball team, and in the years to follow, I was able to make the varsity basketball team.”

For Williams, coaching the boys basketball team may be one of the biggest steps he takes in his coaching career. In the past, he has helped out at clinics, but never had the opportunity to coach his own team.

“I have had a little experience with coaching basketball, but never an organized team,” Williams said. “My experience with coaching comes from helping out coach Doherty with his basketball clinics that occur throughout the year.”

Participating in different sports teams at WHS in the past has strongly influenced how Williams coaches now. He has learned many new techniques and styles from watching his coaches.

“I have had the good fortune of having amazing coaches throughout my run as a player, and I have taken all of the great and memorable things that they were able to do, and I attempt to work those aspects into the way that I coach,” Williams said. “Some of the coaches that I have taken bits and pieces from are Coach Parseghian, Coach Doherty, Coach Breslin, Coach Murtagh and many more.”

Williams is known for having a very enthusiastic personality and engaging with his team by creating intense practices filled with lots of work.

“I think that it is really good for the guys on the team to see that I, as the coach, can be just as excited and into the sport as they are,” Williams said. “I attempt to approach every practice with some intensity to get the blood flowing, and then everyone is engaged in the practice.”

Williams so far is optimistic about the way his season is going. He has faith in his athletes to put in the work and effort to get them to where they need to be.

“I think that there is a lot of raw talent on the team. I say “raw” talent because the guys on the team clearly have a love for basketball, but we still have a lot of room for improvement and development,” Williams said. “Therefore, if the guys have improved in their skill set and understanding of basketball, then I will count that as a successful season.”

Williams is hoping this will be a great first experience in coaching. He looks forward to the rest of the season and discovering what his team can do.

“I’m just excited to give my first coaching experience and my best effort all season long,” Williams said.