GLENHAYES – What do you do after you win a Wayne County boys’ basketball championship?
If you’re Chris Chadwick, you take over as head coach at Tolsia High School.
“I think we’re ready for a fresh start,” he said. “Everyone at Tolsia has been great and I feel like I have been welcomed with open arms.
“There is a great community here.”
Chadwick was recently named the new boys basketball coach of the Rebels. The appointment comes just in time for the mid-summer three-week practice period and puts to rest any concerns that may have surfaced after Jason Hatfield resigned as coach.
“We practiced together for the first time Monday evening,” Chadwick said. “They seem like a good group of kids. “I’m excited to have the opportunity.”
Chadwick brings with him a tradition of winning, which is needed at a school that is used to winning like Tolsia. As the coach of the Ceredo-Kenova Wonders, he guided the team to two appearances in the county’s title game and one title.
He also spent time as coach of the AAU Thunder. Coaching the travel team allowed Chadwick the opportunity to coach a veritable all-star team of the best girls’ basketball players in the region.
“There are only minor differences when it comes to coaching boys and girls,” he said, “But when you get down to it the Xs and the Os are still the same.
“It was a great experience to be part of the Thunder’s success.”
Things won’t be easy. After the Rebels’ most recent Class AA state tournament run, seven seniors graduated, leaving three remaining underclassmen on the roster.
Put a rebuilding year together and a new coach having to earn the respect and trust of a community and players, Chadwick is facing a tall order.
“I know we’re facing a rebuilding year,” he said, “but I asked the parents and boosters to please be patient.
“It would be nice if we were actually reloading, but we are young.”
According to Chadwick, of the 18 athletes to come out for team, 16 are freshmen and sophomores.
“They’ve shown a lot of interest,” he said, “we’ve even got a few who came back to play this year that didn’t play last season.
“But although they’ve shown talent, it still amounts to a fresh start for them.
“I can’t control where they’re at right now, but it is in my power to make sure they have grown and improved at the end of the season.”
Although facing such a big rebuilding year would be a daunting task for anyone, Chadwick is taking it all in stride.
“With a young team, we have a basis to build upon,” he said. “It makes me feel good about the future.
“We’ve got a lot of kids out, but I hope that more become involved, there are a lot of good athletes walking the halls of Tolsia.”
The practice period has just started and there is still some time for Chadwick to work with his new team. He has already set about the job of molding and tempering the young Rebels.
Tolsia will host a shootout against Huntington St. Joe at Rebel Arena June 18 at 7:30 p.m. June 21 will see Tolsia participate in a shootout at Marshall University, but the time is still yet to be determined.
Chadwick even mentioned the possibility of a scrimmage with Spring Valley, but that depends on whether the two teams can work their schedules out for a meeting.
“I want to make the kids the best that they can possibly be,” he said. “It will go a long way in helping to do that with the support of the community.”