High school basketball: New coaches take over at Warren, Schaumburg, Hyde Park and several other top schools

Simeon’s coach Robert Smith will lead a super-charged Wolverines side for one more season this winter before calling it an iconic career next March. Then Tim Flowers, current assistant and former player of Simeon, will take over.

Flowers will only become Simeon’s third coach in 44 years, following 19 years under Smith and 24 seasons under Bob Hambric.

Smith said he fully intends to take a big step back through June, which is always the busiest offseason month for high school basketball coaches and programs. He will do it with a plan.

Being consciously absent, Smith says this will allow Flowers to have a lot of control, gain experience and raise his voice with a view to taking over in a year.

While Simeon’s practice news earlier this month was the biggest of the offseason and reverberated throughout the world of Illinois high school basketball, Smith’s announcement was not the only movement and upheaval in the region’s training.

Hyde Park hires Jerrel Oliver

A household and respected name in high school basketball circles for the past decade, Jerrel Oliver succeeds Jamere Dismukes at Hyde Park.

Oliver was a longtime assistant coach at Curie and was also instrumental in managing and coaching Team Rose in grassroots basketball from 2013-2021.

Now he has his chance to run his own program on the South Side where neighborhood rival Kenwood has revived his program.

“There is a rich tradition at the school and it’s a school that has so much to offer,” Oliver said. “It’s in one of the best conferences in the state, academics are always taken seriously and the area has really grown.”

While Hyde Park is considered one of the best jobs in the Public League, the head coaching position has been a bit of a revolving door over the past decade. Oliver hopes to build continuity there, just as his brother, Mike Oliver, did to Curie.

Oliver, who says he started to want to run his own program in the last three or four years, compares Hyde Park to where Curie was in his early years of development as a programme.

“As we did at Curie, the opportunity is there to take the program to another level, to bring it to the top,” Oliver said. “It’s exciting to be in a place where hopefully you can be the first to accomplish certain things there.”

Glenbard East becomes familiar again

There was a massive turnaround in the Glenbard East basketball program when coach Scott Miller arrived in 1999. He followed an underdog program that had two regional titles and a 20-in-25 season. years old and had a telling run.

Over a nine-year span from 2005 to 2013, the Rams averaged 21 wins per season with six regional championships and the first section title in 47 years. This included a season-record 28 wins and a third-place finish in Class 4A in 2011.

As assistant coach, Austin Nelson was there for it all. He was Miller’s right-hand man for 19 seasons. It is now his turn to take over as head coach at Glenbard East after Al Biancalana’s two seasons in charge of the programme.

Nelson’s final season with the program in 2019-20 ended with a regional championship. When Miller retired, Nelson retired for a few years.

“The opportunity at Glenbard East was too good,” Nelson said. “It’s a blessing to run a program in a place I know so well.”

The Rams finished 7-25 last year, so there’s a definite rebuild at Lombard, and that’s something Nelson is excited for as he begins his first stint as head coach.

A motivator for the kids, Nelson is adamant about the first step in the rebuilding process.

“Bringing the fun back to the program and the pride of wearing this Glenbard East jersey is the first priority,” Nelson said. “We want the kids to want to go back to the gym. We want them to have energy and want to be part of something special.

Maine South basketball comes full circle

After two decades of Tony Lavorato leading the Maine South program, where the veteran coach turned the Hawks into a perennial winner, Colin Wehman takes over.

Wehman certainly knows Maine South basketball and has family ties to the Park Ridge school and program. He played under Lavorato at Maine South, and his grandfather, Bernard “Bernie” Brady, served as the first head basketball coach in Maine South history.

“Any time you get the chance to come back and lead a program that you played in and how far my roots go back, I’m excited for that opportunity,” Wehman said. “It’s a great place with a lot of sporting tradition.”

Although Wehman spent last season as an assistant coach in Scott Hennig’s Geneva program, he has a ton of experience coaching in the Central Suburban League.

Wehman began his career as an assistant coach at Maine South in 2010-11. He spent four years with Glenn Olson’s team at Niles North and recently spent six years as an assistant coach at New Trier under Scott Fricke.

“I’ve been on some big programs,” Wehman said. “What’s cool for me is that I’ve been with a lot of different great coaches with distinct and different styles. I hope to bring that versatility and the different philosophies that I’ve seen over the years. over time I will inject my own style and philosophy.

Under Lavorato, Maine South won five regional championships and captured a section title in 2010. The Hawks have averaged 21 wins a year over the past 14 seasons.

Now Wehman has the opportunity to run a program and continue to build a basketball program at what is considered a school of football.

“My No. 1 priority is to build relationships with these kids and get them excited about playing basketball here,” Wehman said.

Can Warren revive it under Zack Ryan?

During Chuck Ramsey’s nearly two decades as head coach at Warren, the Blue Devils averaged 21 wins per season. That included two state runners-up to go along with seven section titles and 14 regional championships.

Ramsey retired after the 2012 season in which he won regional and section titles.

Warren hasn’t won a regional or put together a 20-win season since.

Now it’s Zack Ryan’s turn to try to end this drought.

Ryan spent a few years at Mundelein as an assistant coach early in his coaching career. There he played against and saw the success of those Warren teams in North Suburban Conference play. From a distance, he was intrigued by the success and history of the program as it dominated under Ramsey.

“For me, I love my time at Carmel and felt like we were headed in the right direction, but Warren has always been one of those jobs you have your eye on,” Ryan said. “It’s just great basketball work, not just in Lake County, but in the state of Illinois.”

During the interview process, he became even more in love with the job.

“They want to be really good at Warren, and they’re ready for that,” Ryan said. “The importance of basketball to them was obvious to me during the interview. It appealed to me.

The former Carmel head coach will be Warren’s third head coach since Ramsey built a power station in the northern suburbs. He heads to Gurnee School as Carmel’s winningest coach with 127 wins in eight seasons. Ryan also led the Corsairs to three regional championships.

Other coaching changes in the region

buffalo grove

Remaining in the Mid-Suburban League, Buffalo Grove hired Rolling Meadows assistant coach Kevin Geldon to replace Keith Peterson. Geldon has spent the last eight seasons with Kevin Katovich, including the last three seasons when the Mustangs went 53-15 combined.

western maine

Basketball work in Maine West has proven to be one of the toughest in the Chicago area for the past 25 years.

Yes, the 1997-98 team, led by Lucas Johnson and Kevin Frey, who transferred from Mount Carmel for his senior year, led the program to a historic season. The Warriors won a school-best 28 games and finished fourth in the state in Class AA.

But since then, there have been few winning seasons and not a single 20-win season or even a regional championship.

Tom Prokopij has done a solid job in his six seasons. But Prokopij, who won 16 games in his first year as head coach and went 19-8 in his second season, quit.

Dan Paxson takes over after leading Niles North’s women’s basketball program from 2007-2022.


Schaumburg landed a new head coach with head coaching experience.

Jason Tucker, who spent seven seasons as head coach at Luther North (2010-2017) and four as head coach at Taft in the Chicago Public League, takes over the program from the Saxons.

Tucker also recently worked under the great Pat Ambrose at Stevenson as an assistant coach.

Tucker replaces Wade Heisler, who resigned in March after seven seasons as head coach.

Leave a Reply