Former Wapakoneta varsity boys basketball coach Matt Bradley talks with an official during a Western Buckeye League game against Celina last season. Bradley left the Wapak program after four seasons. (Staff file photo)
Matt Bradley couldnâ€™t have done any worse with the Wapakoneta varsity boys basketball program when he took over as head coach. After all, the program had endured an 0-21 record the season before and was dealing with a losing streak of more than 30 games.
With a 13-10 record last season, Bradley and the Redskins achieved the programâ€™s first winning season overall and in the Western Buckeye League since 2007.
And though he couldnâ€™t have done any worse in his tenure than the winless campaign the season before his arrival, it doesnâ€™t mean that he shouldnâ€™t credit for slowly but surely making the program into a steadily ascending one.
â€śObviously, we knew we had our work cut out for us,â€ť Bradley said about his first season with Wapak. â€śThat first year we won four games. We had eight really good seniors that year. They were coachable. They bought into what we were teaching them.â€ť
For some time since then, for Bradley, getting the program to where it should be was about having good upperclassmen who set a strong example for the teamâ€™s underclassmen and the future players in the lower levels of the school.
The result was a steady climb in the win column each season, from four, to six, to eight and finally to 13 last season.
â€śIf you look at the progression as far as wins, we certainly made some great progress.â€ť
Bradley pinpointed the biggest difference in the Wapak program from when he took it over to now as he left it.
â€śIt certainly helps to have really, really good players, and we had some really good players the last couple years. And because we had a lot of good seniors, what youâ€™re going to see is a lot of underclassmen chomping at the bit, waiting their turn,â€ť Bradley said. â€śWhen you have a good program, youâ€™ve got really strong upperclassmen that are leading and helping the younger grades.
â€śLast year we played a lot of seniors and juniors. Thatâ€™s the sign of a healthy program, when your upperclassmen are your better players. Thatâ€™s what will help out this group going forward,â€ť he said.
Bradley is now the assistant principal at Highland High School in Sparta. He is also the head varsity boys basketball coach at Highland High School.
Bradleyâ€™s replacement is Doug Selvey, who was hired May 28.
â€śI donâ€™t know the new coach,â€ť Bradley said of Selvey, who coached the Danville boys basketball program the past four seasons. â€śI wish him and the program the best of luck,â€ť Bradley said. â€śThe program is very healthy right now.
â€śOver the last four years, weâ€™ve made some really good progress. The new coach is a lot better off than where I was when I took over,â€ť Bradley said.
Bradley took a snapshot of the Wapak program, assessed what Selvey will inherit and shared what direction it could head.
â€śHeâ€™s going to have two really juniors â€” Kodi Morgan and Adam Henderson â€” and in our younger grades thereâ€™s a lot of talent coming up. Thereâ€™s a lot on interest in basketball right now.
â€śThatâ€™s what happens when you start winning games, do things the right way and youâ€™re positive. The program is at a point where it could take off now,â€ť Bradley said.
Though he could not have done worse than a winless season when he first arrived, Bradleyâ€™s time with the Wapak boys basketball program appears to have set it up so that it will not do any worse than to where he has brought it.
And itâ€™s up to Selvey to see that through, starting this winter.
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