Boys basketball: Widlowski takes over at Hersey

There are always questions of what to do when one retires.

Travel. Read. Play golf. Visit your children.

Fremd’s Bob Widlowski had all of those plans when he stepped down as Fremd’s head coach after this season. But sometimes there is a special opportunity that comes down the pike.

It came to fruition last Thursday when Widlowski was voted in by the D214 board as the new varsity basketball coach at Hersey. He succeeded interim coach Dave Hess, who did not apply for the position.

“It was just too good an opportunity to not pursue,” Widlowski said. “It was then just a quick turnaround. It was not the plan when the season ended. This came up a week or two after the season ended.”

Widlwoski will retire from teaching at Fremd at the end of the school year. He coached the Vikings for 23 seasons compiling a record of 394-208.

“Hersey is a great school,” Widlwoski said. “And the extra bonus is that I get to stay in the MSL.”

Fremd won’t be left empty-handed with Widlowski’s departure. The school hired longtime assistant coach and current sophomore coach Mike Brown to succeed Widlowski.

“Fremd has had a long history of successful basketball,” Brown said. “I live in the community and all of my children will go here. The community is very supportive of their sons and are dedicated to their success. I have been working here for 12 years and have fallen in love with the school, the people who work here, and the community.”

Brown becomes just the fourth head coach in Fremd’s history. Brown, who has taught history at Fremd for 12 years, is no stranger to MSL basketball.

He was star-guard at Schaumburg from 1993-97, starting all four seasons for Bob Williams. He helped lead the Saxons to three regional titles and was named the Daily Herald’s Cook All-Area Captain in 1997.

He then went to Northern Illinois where he started for three seasons and scored over 1,000 points. After graduation, he was an assistant coach at Hoffman Estates under Bill Wandro for 9 years before going to Fremd.

Greg Grana took over the Conant job in early April. He succeeded Matt Walsh, who stepped down. Grana becomes the 10th coach since the school opened in 1965.

Grana had been an assistant coach for three seasons at Conant, all under Walsh. Prior to that, Grana was on the staff at Palatine for four seasons as an assistant sophomore coach and head coach of the freshman B team.

Grana was a two-sport athlete at Palatine playing both basketball and baseball. He then attended North Park, where he played for two seasons.

Grana has taught at Conant for the last four years as a business education teacher. He is also currently the assistant boys varsity baseball coach.

“The following year after I was hired at Conant, I was hired onto the basketball staff,” Granna said. “I knew right away this was the perfect fit for me. The Conant program is one that is full of pride and tradition. The coaches within the school and within our basketball staff are tremendous. They are always supporting one another and always doing what they believe is right by students.”

Chris Rugg was named the new coach at Elk Grove replacing Nick Oraham. This is Rugg’s first opportunity as a head coach.

Rugg was an assistant for the last five seasons at Hersey under Austin Scott and Hess. Rugg also had a previous stint as an assistant at Elk Grove under Anthony Furman and as an assistant coach at Hersey as an assistant football for Mark Gunther and basketball for Don Rowley and then Steve Messer.

Rugg is currently a math teacher at Hersey and will be moving over to Elk Grove next fall.

“Having previously coached at Elk Grove I still have connections in the community as well as a good understanding of the history of the program,” Rugg said. “Also, I know myself, and the opportunity to build a program is something that fits me very well.”

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