Coaching shakeup at Wilton-Lyndeborough

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Tuesday, December 26, 2017 8:8AM

Dave Wheeler’s short-lived tenure as head coach of the Wilton-Lyndeborough boys’ basketball team is over.

Wheeler took over the team in the offseason after coming over from Marlborough School, where he had led the Dukes to a 37-2 record over two seasons. But at WLC, his coaching style clashed with the players and parents, and the Warriors started the season 0-4, most recently falling to Mount Royal after losing a seven-point lead down the stretch.

In an email to the Ledger-Transcript, Wheeler expressed his surprise at being replaced.

“Since being hired in September, I have put in the time and effort to start rebuilding WLC basketball and was surprised by the school's recent lack of support,” Wheeler said. “Their decision to remove me as head coach is even harder to understand given the history of their basketball program.”

Last season, WLC started out 0-3 before finishing above .500 and making the playoffs. With big men Trey Carrier and Sean McClure gone to graduation, Wheeler said he had the understanding that he was in a “rebuilding year,” and that he would build the program up over time.

Wheeler preached a “team-first” attitude, encouraging players not to look at the scorebook after the game and to the same end, not reporting individual scoring statistics to the media.

“I am disappointed that I will not be coaching WLC for the rest of this season,” Wheeler said. “More importantly, I will miss not being there to help the team grow and improve so they can tackle the challenges they will face... both on the court and in life.

“I wish them the best of luck.”

Flip Tremblay, who’d coached the Warriors middle-school team, will now take over the varsity program. He’ll make his coaching debut at the Keene State Holiday tournament on Wednesday when the Warriors take on Newport at 1 p.m. in the White Division opening round.

The KSC tourney is filled with interesting potential storylines this year. The ConVal boys take on Leland and Gray at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday. Were the Cougars and Warriors both to lose, they’d play each other Wednesday, pitting new ConVal coach Leo Gershgorin against Tremblay and WLC. Gershgorin was the Warriors’ head coach last season.

In the Red Division, Conant takes on Wells at 4 Wednesday, and Mascenic takes on Smithfield at 5:30. If both win or both lose, the Vikings and Orioles would play each other Wednesday. Bonus basketball in the Route 124 rivalry is always welcome.

The Orioles beat Mascoma Valley at home on Thursday, 62-35. Peyton Springfield led with 27, Jake Drew and Ryan Smith had ten each.

With no girls’ KSC tourney this season, Conant and ConVal are heading to the Manchester Central holiday tournament. The field is comprised entirely of Division II teams, save Conant, so the Orioles should get a tough test as they play up. ConVal starts things off against Lebanon Tuesday at 1 p.m., while Conant has Coe-Brown at 4 p.m. Were Conant and ConVal to both win or both lose, they’d face off in a Hoops For Hope preview on Wednesday.