When you’ve logged as many years in the coaching industry that Darren Wilson has, sometimes you reach a point when you know it’s time to move on to something different.
Wilson is the only head coach the Northwest Byron Nelsons girls basketball program has ever known. He built it from its inception when the high school opened in 2009. Now, the time has come for the baton to be passed to someone else.
Nelson, who took the program to three playoff appearances and had a pretty solid rebuilding season in 2015-2016 season, decided earlier this week to step aside. First-year NISD athletic director Joel Johnson will have a busy spring trying to find a successor.
Wilson cited the stress of the job as a factor for him to move on. Quite simply, he needed a break. The Lady Bobcats made the playoffs between 2012-2014 and guided the program to its first postseason win in 2014, when it defeated Birdville.
A coaching fixture in Northeast Tarrant County, Wilson was also the girls head basketball coach at Grapevine. Between those positions, he collected more than 200 career wins. That’s a pretty healthy track record considering that rebuilding programs became part of his legacy.
Wilson leaves Nelson in a pretty solid position. A roster that featured a heavy underclass presence, the 2015-2016 team finished 16-14 and 5-9 in District 5-6A. Wilson won his last game, 50-45, over Keller Fossil Ridge.
Whoever takes over the program inherits freshman guard Alexia Matheus. She is a growing 3-point shooter. Sloan Johnson is a strong presence in the post at 6-1. There will also be the welcomed return of junior Hannah Sellinger. She missed the 2016-2017 season because of a torn ACL.
Now, Wilson will be a full-time volleyball fan of Northwest V.R. Eaton. His wife, Diane, started this program when the school opened last August. The program plays its inaugural varsity season in August.
Of course, it will be a challenging transition for Nelson. It moves into a new district (5-6A) for the next two seasons along with the Lewisville ISD schools, Carroll, Euless Trinity and Hurst L.D. Bell.
What Wilson’s departure reminds us is that coaching is a transient industry. Coaches come and go. All you hope is that they leave the program better than how they found it.
More Nelson moves
We’re about one month away from spring football starting for our 10 area teams. Dates should have been or are close to being finalized.
Expect everything to begin either in late April or early May. New Nelson head football coach Travis Pride has found his coordinators and didn’t have to look very far for them. Chad Zschiesche, who was Pride’s offensive coordinator at Mansfield Summit, will take on the same role. Zach Woodward, Pride’s linebackers coach at Summit, will be the new the defensive coordinator.
As for former interim coach Byron Bode, he may be close to landing something. Nothing has been settled as of this week but we’re aware of him looking at some opportunities.
If worse came to worse, Bode could stay on at Nelson and remain a teacher. The transition from Bode to Pride has been pretty smooth by all accounts.
You can understand if Bode wants to land a head coaching position. He worked pretty close with former head coach Brian Polk running the program and held the interim position for two months.
While he could not have been judged on game decisions, Bode had a grasp of the day-to-day operations of the infrastructure of a program. That can be equally if not more important to a program’s success.