Mike Hatch, who coached Justin Northwest to the UIL boys basketball 5A state tournament the past two seasons, has accepted a job as the recruiting coordinator at SMU.
Hatch has spent 24 years with the Texans, including 22 as head coach where he was 233-116 over the last decade.
“I have always loved being at the college level,” he said. “There’s not many opportunities to coach in college.”
Hatch started at Northwest in the 1990s where he coached for 12 seasons before stints at McKinney and Paschal.
He worked with SMU head coach Tim Jankovich as an assistant at Hutchison Community College in 2000 and also spent time at Oklahoma State.
“Tim offered me a job a couple years ago and I passed,” he said. “You never know if that opportunity will come along again so I said OK.”
Hatch came back to the Texans in 2008. Over the past two years the Texans have been one of the best teams in the state.
They went to the state tournament for the first time in program history in 2017. Last season the Texans were ranked as the No. 1 team in the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches preseason poll.
Northwest would remain in the top-3 for the most of the season and reach the state tourney for a second-consecutive spring.
“It was an unbelievable run. It’s one of those things you dream of doing, but really don’t know if it’s possible. It was phenomenal and we were fortunate to have great kids,” Hatch said. “It was a special time for the whole community, who got behind us. It brought positive attention to the Northwest school district and high school. It was a pretty magical time.”
The Texans came up short in both cases, including a loss to Port Arthur Memorial in the 5A state final this past March. They were 93-26 the past three seasons, including a 37-8 mark last season.
Northwest won 24 games in 2016, its most in five years, and reached the 6A regional quarterfinals and followed it up with back-to-back 30-win campaigns.
“Loved it there. The people were supportive from the administrators to the parents and players,” Hatch said. “It goes deeper than that and I felt comfortable and at home there. It had to do with the people I worked with. It’s a great place and I’ll miss it for sure.”
According to Reece Waddell from the Wise County Messenger, Northwest Executive Athletic Director Joel Johnson said he hopes to fill the head coaching position within the next two weeks. He added assistant coach Travis Edwards is expected to be a frontrunner for the job.
Hatch said he hopes Edwards gets the job.
Northwest was reclassified into District 8-5A with Lake Dallas, Little Elm, The Colony, Ryan, Braswell and Denton. Among the returners is 4-star guard Avery Anderson, who has an offer from SMU. Anderson is a senior and also holds offers from TCU, LSU, Texas Tech, A&M, Florida and Oklahoma State. Also returning is senior Sammie Freeman and junior Julien Smith.
“I learned a lot from this man. Believe it or not he’s a heck of a coach,” Anderson said in a tweet. “I just want to say thank you for believing in me since freshman year. We’ll always be family.”