Following the 2009-2010 season, Wellesley boys basketball head coach Luke Day stepped down after his wife, Kristan, had given birth to twins towards the end of that season. Tuesday night, Day learned he would not only be returning to the bench, but also to the Bay State Conference, as he becomes the new boys basketball coach at Brookline High School. Day is replacing Mark Fiedor, who resigned shortly following the end of this past season after 11 years at the helm, including two Division 1 state final appearances.
ESPN Boston caught up with Day earlier this week, to find out what brought him back to hardwood after just 2 seasons away from the game.
On his decision to return to coaching: “I wasn’t looking for a coaching job or applying for all of the different positions that became open, it was this particular job [that appealed to Day]. One of the things I always said was, if I was going to come back it would be for a plum job, and this is it. I know some of the staff from Mark and on down and I got to know some of the kids a few years ago from doing camps and clinics and things like that. It’s close to my house… this was an opportunity I couldn’t let pass by.”
What the process of being hired was: “When I saw the opening, I went up to my wife and I barely finished my sentence and she said ‘you gotta go for it’, so I pretty quickly decided that it was something I wanted to do. Once that was decided it was just a matter of putting an application together, we went through two interviews, and the people at Brookline were great. The interviews were pretty extensive but then Pete [Rittenburg, Brookline Atheltic Director] called me and gave me the news and I was pretty pleased.”
On his reaction to being hired: “I’m thrilled. I told my wife Tuesday night that I was a little scared but I think I’m over that. Right now, it just seems like there’s so much to do to get myself established over there, but like I said it’s such a plum job I was thrilled to hear the news.”
His thoughts on replacing Mark Fiedor: “I have a ton of personal and professional respect for Mark and what he’s done and his record speaks for itself [150-95, three Bay State Conference titles, two Division 1 South titles, two Eastern Mass. titles]. If I can even accomplish half of that in my time in Brookline, I will have done pretty well. What Mark had established there, is a pretty good starting point for me and it’s gonna help a lot.”
What his familiarity is with the Brookline program: “They have size, there’s athleticism, there’s depth and there’s talent. Every time I talk to somebody they’re telling me about someone else that can play, and that’s good. It’s going to create competition for spots, it’ll make the kids work harder and it allows you to do more things on the floor and get more kids into the games. It allows you to build a program that both those kids in the school and in the community would want to aspire to and be a part of. There’s so many good things that are just in place already, that whether it was me or whoever, they’re walking into a pretty good situation.”
What the Brookline roster has to offer: “It’s pretty good. They have a lot of people coming back, they have size, athleticism, good guard play, they have shooters, dribblers, they’re pretty good. Expectations are going to be high, I’m well aware of that, but it’ll be nice. It’s a nice challenge to have, certainly better than the opposite.”
On returning to the Bay State Conference: “I’m thrilled about coming back. One of the things I missed the most was that camaraderie, and almost all of my adult friends are through basketball and through the league. I miss seeing all of those people and getting to catch up with them before games, but already I’ve been lucky. Jay Johnson was gracious enough to call me last night from Natick, Bob Cook from Braintree was one of my recommenders, I’ve talked to and texted with Eddie Hickey the ex-coach at Dedham, and obviously Adam [Cluff, Day’s former assistant and current Framingham coach] and [former Welelsley coach] Mike Reidy right here in the building. And it’s going to be interesting too, coaching against Wellesley and against Glen [Magpiong, Wellesley’s coach] and Adam. It’s funny, I feel like Wellesley is slowly taking over the Bay State Conference now with the three of us and Mike Reidy helping over at Needham.”
What his first night coaching against Wellesley will be like: “A couple of things will mitigate the weirdness I suppose. One, is that we’re at our place and even when we come to Wellesley I won’t have ever have to coach in the gym I coached in. But it’s still gonna be strange, there’s no kids on the team next year that I coached on varsity but there are kids I coached at camps or who were in our program as freshman when I was still there. I told somebody the other day that I’m not looking forward to those games at all, probably the games that I’m least looking forward to are that and Framingham because those are the two coaches that I’m most closely tied with and it’s not a lot fun. Especially if I beat them… well that might be a little more fun.”
How he’d describe his coaching style: “The kids on my teams have played smart and they’ve played hard. I definitely believe that there’s a right way of doing things, or at least a better way of doing things than some others. With that being said, as I told the Brookline kids today, they’re going to have the freedom to do what they do well, and if we’re good at getting up and down the floor and scoring 70 or 80 points a game then that’s what we’re going to do. I try to give the kids a basic framework and give them some general concepts and then try to shape things to their skills. Then you practice it, you practice the execution and then when you go out on game night, most of the time if you’ve done it right, they’ll execute.”