Basketball: Matt Wasilewski steps down as Bureau Valley girls coach

New coach will be named at Wednesday’s board meeting

Bureau Valley coach Matt Wasilewski

Matt Wasilewski didn’t intend on being a head coach again when he came to Bureau Valley High School.

He was head football coach at Iroquois West from 2013 to 2018 and had also been a head softball coach. He was comfortable in his roles as an assistant coach in football, girls basketball and baseball at BV.

But he said athletic director Brad Bickett approached him about taking over as the head girls basketball coach at BV in 2021 and “he can be quite persuasive.”

“When I took the job, it was only going to be for a short time frame,” he said. “I wanted to help the program in any way I could. Going into the school year and the season, I knew this was my last year.”

After three seasons, Wasilewski has stepped down as the girls’ head coach. He will continue serving as an assistant football and baseball coach.

Wasilewski, 51, who teaches special education and leadership at BVHS, said it was just time to step back and be more available for his home team.

“I have coached two or three sports for the majority of the past three decades and have missed more of my kids’ games and activities than I care to admit,” he said. “Between practices, summer contact days, weight room three or four times a week in the summer and occasionally during the mornings while in school, the time spent at school is more than at home.

“It is time for me to try and watch my son, who will be a senior, and daughter, who will be in 8th grade, play basketball as a parent and not as a coach. I coached my oldest daughter and enjoyed that opportunity, but it is definitely different as a parent. Getting older, the days often seem longer and I look forward to four months off.”

Wasilewski had a three-year record of 37-52, going 14-16 this past season. He always tried to coach more than just the wins.

“We didn’t have the success this year that we hoped for and that is my failing. I will own that,” he said. “The players gave everything they could to the program, and I know that will continue. I hope the young ladies I coached over the past six years have many more positive memories than negative. As a coach, I’ve always believed sports teach life lessons and I can only hope I’ve done that successfully.

“There were many individual successes and some great team accomplishments as well. The future is bright for Bureau Valley girls basketball.”

Bickett said the new Storm varsity girls coach will be named at Wednesday’s board meeting and is someone who is well-versed with the area basketball scene.

The new Storm coach will be the fifth head girls basketball coach in 10 years, following Tiffany Gonigam, Jim Nugent, Daniel Sinclair and Wasilewski, and the eighth in program history.

Fredericks to join girls staff at PHS

Michael Fredericks has been a staple on the boys basketball coaching staff at Princeton High School, previously as the head coach and most recently as a trusted assistant.

Next year, he will be joining the girls basketball program as a varsity assistant under head coach Tiffany Gonigam.

Fredericks has been coaching his 9-year-old daughter Eva’s travel team. When he resigned as the varsity boys coach in 2018, he said he could “definitely see coaching Eva and her classmates” one day.

In his first stint with the PHS boys program, “Coach Freds” served as a volunteer coach and sophomore coach, before taking over as head coach in 2015. He compiled a 46-39 record over three seasons, stepping down after the 2017-18 season.

He returned to the Tigers’ program as varsity assistant under Coach Jason Smith.

Galli named at Wethersfield

Kyle Galli has been named as the new varsity boys basketball coach at Kewanee Wethesfield, succeeding Tom McGunnigal, the former St. Bede coach, who resigned after two seasons. Galli is a 2007 Wethersfield graduate.

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