Boys basketball: Maine West, Schaumburg, Buffalo Grove announce new coaches
The landscape in high school basketball coaching has changed significantly in the last two days.
On Wednesday, Maine West introduced head new head coach Dan Paxson. He was replacing Tom Prokopij, who surprisingly stepped down after six years at Maine West.
Later Wednesday evening Schaumburg announced that Jason Tucker would be the new head coach at Schaumburg. Tucker is replacing Wade Heisler who stepped down in March.
On Thursday it was Buffalo Grove's turn. The Bison announced that long time Rolling Meadows varsity assistant coach Kevin Geldon would take over as head coach. Geldon will replace Keith Peterson who resigned from basketball coaching after last season.
That announcement ended a whirlwind of boys basketball head coaching hirings. There were four boys basketball head coaching positions in Northwest Cook County and three were filled within 36 hours of each other.
The Paxson announcement caught many basketball observers off guard. That's because many did not know that Prokopij, who had been head coach of the Warriors for six years, had resigned. Maine West did post the open position on March 31st.
"Coach Prokopij was an outstanding coach who inherited a team and immediately turned our program around," Maine West athletic director Jarret Kirschner said. "Dan Paxson is an experienced basketball coach, and a good man. He is an educator who sees the value in education-based athletics."
Paxson had been the head coach of Niles North's girls basketball team. He had been at the helm there from 2007 to 2022. Paxson resigned his position as head girls coach at Niles North. He will remain on staff at Niles North where he teaches English.
"I am happy and excited to represent Maine West's proud athletic tradition," Paxson said in a statement. "While also competing in one of the best basketball conferences. I can't wait to meet all of the players, build my staff, and become a part of the Warrior tradition."
Tucker was an assistant coach at Stevenson and a veteran head coach with 11 years varsity experience as a head coach with 14 years total.
Tucker was a head coach in the Chicago Public League coaching at Taft from 2018-2021, winning the White North Conference in 2021. He also was the head coach at Sullivan in 2017-2018, winning the Blue North tournament. He got his start at Luther North where he was the head coach from 2010 until the school closed in 2017.
He currently teaches adapted physical education at Washington elementary school in Schiller Park.
"I am very excited and looking forward to the opportunity," Tucker said. "I coached last year under (Stevenson head coach) Pat Ambrose and it was one of the best things I ever did in my career. I was ready to be a had coach again. I know all about the aura surrounding Schaumburg basketball and I always wanted to be part of something that in my opinion is a big-time program and that has the ability and backing from the administration."
Schaumburg athletic director Marty Manning is very excited to have Tucker on board.
"He is a proven varsity head coach who has had a lot of success at different programs," Manning said. "Not only the head coaching experience but all he experiences he has and being relatively young with over a decade of head coaching experience. But then he got to spend time with Pat Ambrose, so that just added to his already considerable knowledge of the game."
Geldon will be moving over from Rolling Meadows, where he has been an assistant coach to Kevin Katovich for the last eight seasons and also taught PE and health. Geldon came to Rolling Meadows from Mendota, where he was the girls varsity basketball coach and compiled a 70-67 record, including a regional title in his final year at Mendota.
"I am super excited," said Geldon, who will also go to Buffalo Grove to be part of their PE and health staff.
"This is a dream job. It is kind of a tough time to leave the boys at Meadows. But when you have goals, you have to try to pursue them. It is he second time I am leaving a group of kids who will do great. But that is how timing works. I can't wait to start at Buffalo Grove."
Also, Maine South hired Colin Wehman last week to replace Tony Levrato Jr. who retired. Wehman is a former assistant coach at Geneva and New Trier. This is his first opportunity as a head coach.
Wehman will be immediately comfortable when he begins his coaching stint at Maine South. He played basketball for the Hawks from 2002-2006.
"His mindset is superb," Maine South athletic director Matt Ryder said. "We are really excited to have him. He knows what it is like to play for Maine South and compete for a Central Suburban league championship."
Late Thursday, Maine East named Sergio Murio its new coach.