Wheaton Academy offered its new boys basketball coach everything he sought in a program, including the chance to lead it.
Athletic director Andrew Tink on Tuesday announced the hiring of Pete Froedden as the Warriors' new varsity coach. Froedden had been a five-year assistant coach at his alma mater, Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tenn., where as point guard from 1987-91 he scored 1,053 points.
"I've been a head coach for 14 years and I've been doing the Division I assistant thing for the last five and I found out in the midst of that that I'm a head coach, and I miss being a head coach," said Froedden, who shares the NAIA season record for games played, 46 in 1989-90, and under coach Don Meyer contributed to more victories, 146, than any other collegiate player.
"So for me it was just a matter of finding the right spot and finding a school with the right mission and the right ideas of what it's all about, and Wheaton Academy did all those things for me," he said.
"Being able to disciple young men and being able to grow young men in all areas of their lives is really important to me. That's one of the things I missed, and being able to compete at a high level is very important to me, and Wheaton Academy fit in all of those things."
At Lipscomb, now a Division I men's program, Froedden developed a shooting program that in his first season as an assistant, 2008-09, saw its percentages increase both from the 3-point arc and overall.
Prior to arriving at Lipscomb Froedden served as coach and teacher or athletic director for 14 years at several Tennessee high schools, beginning in 1994 at Hillsboro High in Nashville.
At Harding Academy he took a program that went 7-15 the year before his hiring to one that went 114-68 in his six seasons, twice named district coach of the year. Froedden also led Sycamore (Tenn.) High to a 50-17 record in two seasons.
Wheaton Academy won't need drastic improvement. The Warriors were 118-58 in seven seasons under coach Paul Ferguson, who on April 2 publicly announced he was taking an assistant position at Wheaton College.
"Generally I would like to play fast and generally I would like to play a lot of people," Froedden said. "I would like our team to be known as one of the hardest-playing teams, that plays tough and plays an exciting brand of basketball."
Froedden, 44, is married with three children. His youngest son, 6-foot-3 Christian, will be a Wheaton Academy junior this fall. Froedden plans on arriving here Wednesday morning, meeting with the Warriors Thursday and holding his first practice Friday.
"We're going to get the ball running pretty early here," he said.