• Rick Capone, Sports Editor

Ryan Wilson named new WCHS boys’ basketball coach

RYAN WILSON was named the new head coach of the Woodford County High School boys’ basketball team on Tuesday, May 3. He was an assistant coach under former Yellow Jacket head coach Scott Hundley the last four years, as well as the head coach of the junior varsity. (File photo by Steve Blake/multiexposures.com)

On Tuesday, May 3, Woodford County High School Principal Rob Akers and the WCHS hiring committee announced that Ryan Wilson was named the new head coach of the Woodford County High School boys’ basketball team. Wilson had been the assistant coach of the Yellow Jackets under former head coach Scott Hundley for the last four years. He was also the head coach of the junior varsity team for three years. “I’m still trying to kind of take it in,” said Wilson during an interview in his classroom at WCHS on Friday, May 6. “This has been about a 12-year process that I’ve been waiting for. I think this is probably only the second head coaching position I’ve ever applied for because I knew when I took a job I wanted it to be a job that I wanted and I wanted to be at for a long period of time. So, being able to get this position truly means a lot. Woodford County is just a great place to be. Great kids. Great family support. Great community support.” WCHS athletic director, and girls’ basketball coach Jay Lucas was pleased to see Wilson named the new head coach and believes he is going to do a great job. “After watching Coach Wilson work with our players the last four years as an assistant coach, I know he will be the right man for the job,” said Lucas. “I look forward to working with him as a coaching colleague. It is important that our players have stability in their program and hiring someone already on staff brings that stability to your program. I know he will do a great job with the boys’ basketball program.” Even more pleased about the hiring of Wilson is his friend and former WCHS boys’ head coach, Scott Hundley, who believes Wilson is the right man for the position. “Ryan Wilson could have been a head coach anytime that he wanted,” said Hundley. “The WC basketball program was fortunate that they had two head coaches throughout the last four years. The players are getting one of the hardest working, charismatic and knowledgeable coaches they’ve ever been around. His ability to translate his experiences and understanding of the game are his strongest attributes and I have no doubt his product on the court next season will be exciting and (one the players will enjoy. “As a friend, I am extremely excited to see Ryan get his opportunity to coach and show his ability to not only coach, but show his big heart for turning these players into well rounded men,” Hundley continued. “I’ve coached and taught with Ryan for a long time now and he’s one of those people who has worked every job on the way to this position. He knows coaching inside and out. He is the right man for the job.” Wilson attended Georgetown College on a full athletic basketball scholarship. He earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education (he wanted to teach kindergarten) and then earned a master’s degree in learning and behavior disorders from Georgetown as well. He currently works with the special education community at Woodford, and also teaches Algebra 2 and Intro to College Math. As for coaching, Wilson and Hundley were both assistant coaches at Montgomery County High School under head coach Keith Griesser before making the move to Woodford. Hundley arrived in 2010, while Wilson had to wait for a spot to open up and arrived in 2012. Wilson believes his time at Montgomery County with Hundley was beneficial for both of them as coaches as they both got to learn, and grow, under the same head coach. “The best part about coaching at Montgomery County, besides being with Scott, is that we were both an assistant under the same coach,” said Wilson. “So, we both kind of got the same tutoring. We both had the same beliefs, the same ideas about a team should be run, and just philosophies and things like that. So, coming over here (to Woodford) was an easy transition. I think that’s the main reason he (Hundley) wanted me over here was he knew we were very similar in our styles and our beliefs and whatnot. “It was just a very fluid transition. It was easy, it was enjoyable. I loved working under him. I learned a lot from him and the head coach that we were both under (at Montgomery County).” For Wilson, who coached the junior varsity for three years before becoming the assistant varsity coach last year, working with Hundley has been very enjoyable. “It may sound cliché, but it wasn’t (like) working. It was just fun,” said Wilson. “Having your best friend there by your side. We’d joke around. We’d argue, too, but it was never to a point where we’d hold grudges. We might disagree with something, and we might bicker and fight, but then five minutes later we’re hugging and laughing. So, it was just a great opportunity to spend more time with somebody I respect and admire and appreciate very much.” While he enjoyed working with Hundley, Wilson is looking forward to the challenge of following in his friend’s footsteps while putting his own “brand” on the team. “Friends or not, anytime you step into a program that’s been to the regional tournament for (six) straight years and competed for district championships and won district championships and has won respect all over the region and state, that’s going to be difficult regardless,” Wilson said. “But, I want a challenge. If I wanted something easy, I wouldn’t be here.” Still, while Wilson is the new head coach,” he’s been at Woodford for four years and believes the transition should be a smooth one for the players. “I think it’s going to be an easy transition,” said Wilson. “I feel confident because of the way I’ve been tutored and prepared. So, I’m just really excited and I’m looking forward to it.” Hundley also believes it should be an easy transition. “I think the transition to someone who the players are familiar with will allow them to pick up right where they left off in terms of development and players’ comfort level,” said Hundley. “The time where they might be working on learning a coach’s style can now be time they can extend their knowledge or skill work. Expectations are already set and the players can get to work.” As to the style of play he is looking to implement, Wilson says he’ll adapt to the players he hason the team, but he definitely wants his team to be known for its toughness. “I think it’s going to an adaptation of what our players are good at and what they struggle with,” Wilson said. “But, just kind of my personal philosophy is, defensively, I want to be known as the toughest team that’s on the other person’s schedule. I think that’s one thing that we missed this year was just mental and physical toughness. So, priority number one for me is just to develop that philosophy, that mentality of toughness. It’s not a size thing. It’s not anything other than you’ve got to believe and want to be tough.” As to what he sees with the team at this point, he said, “Defensively, we’re going to be small. So, toughness is going to help us overcome some of those deficits. But, at the same time, we’ve got a lot of guys that can play. We’re fast. Ideally, we’d like to fly around, trap, keep teams from running an offense; keep them uncomfortable. And, then offensively, I think we’ll keep a lot of the stuff that we’ve done, just because we were pretty good at it. And, then we’ll build in a few other things that I think we can do. “Again, that kind of helps through the transition. There’s not going to be a whole lot of new learning. They know me, I know them. They know the program, they know the system. So, that will help with our progress.” Wilson notes that his coaching experience over the last few years has prepared him to become a head coach, but he also knows he has challenges ahead. “I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “I know it’s going to be a challenge. But, it’s going to be an exciting challenge.”

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