Matt Bradley couldn’t have done any worse with the Wapakoneta varsity boys basketball program when he took over as head coach. After all, the program had endured an 0-21 record the season before and was dealing with a losing streak of more than 30 games.
With a 13-10 record last season, Bradley and the Redskins achieved the program’s first winning season overall and in the Western Buckeye League since 2007.
And though he couldn’t have done any worse in his tenure than the winless campaign the season before his arrival, it doesn’t mean that he shouldn’t credit for slowly but surely making the program into a steadily ascending one.
“Obviously, we knew we had our work cut out for us,” Bradley said about his first season with Wapak. “That first year we won four games. We had eight really good seniors that year. They were coachable. They bought into what we were teaching them.”
For some time since then, for Bradley, getting the program to where it should be was about having good upperclassmen who set a strong example for the team’s underclassmen and the future players in the lower levels of the school.
The result was a steady climb in the win column each season, from four, to six, to eight and finally to 13 last season.
“If you look at the progression as far as wins, we certainly made some great progress.”
Bradley pinpointed the biggest difference in the Wapak program from when he took it over to now as he left it.
“It certainly helps to have really, really good players, and we had some really good players the last couple years. And because we had a lot of good seniors, what you’re going to see is a lot of underclassmen chomping at the bit, waiting their turn,” Bradley said. “When you have a good program, you’ve got really strong upperclassmen that are leading and helping the younger grades.
“Last year we played a lot of seniors and juniors. That’s the sign of a healthy program, when your upperclassmen are your better players. That’s what will help out this group going forward,” he said.
Bradley is now the assistant principal at Highland High School in Sparta. He is also the head varsity boys basketball coach at Highland High School.
Bradley’s replacement is Doug Selvey, who was hired May 28.
“I don’t know the new coach,” Bradley said of Selvey, who coached the Danville boys basketball program the past four seasons. “I wish him and the program the best of luck,” Bradley said. “The program is very healthy right now.
“Over the last four years, we’ve made some really good progress. The new coach is a lot better off than where I was when I took over,” Bradley said.
Bradley took a snapshot of the Wapak program, assessed what Selvey will inherit and shared what direction it could head.
“He’s going to have two really juniors — Kodi Morgan and Adam Henderson — and in our younger grades there’s a lot of talent coming up. There’s a lot on interest in basketball right now.
“That’s what happens when you start winning games, do things the right way and you’re positive. The program is at a point where it could take off now,” Bradley said.
Though he could not have done worse than a winless season when he first arrived, Bradley’s time with the Wapak boys basketball program appears to have set it up so that it will not do any worse than to where he has brought it.
And it’s up to Selvey to see that through, starting this winter.