By Kyle Daubs
It wasn’t supposed to be for five years.
At least that is what Ryan Ghere said when he took over the boys basketball program in the summer of 2017.
His oldest son, Jake, was set to graduate in 2019, but Ghere added three more years, which is why he called this the right time to step down.
At the Mattoon School Board meeting earlier this week, Mattoon approved Ghere’s resignation and approved the hiring of a replacement in Brandon Jones out of Champaign Central High School, who will also accept a teaching position. Jones, a graduate from Coastal Carolina University in 2015, served as an assistant and head JV basketball coach for several high school teams in South Carolina.
“It was just the right time,” said Ghere. “When I took over the basketball program, I had planned on doing it for a couple of years. It has been five full seasons. It is time for someone else to have a chance to run the program as I transition to my new position at the board office in a couple of years to be the district finance manager.”
Ghere plans to coach the boys and girls soccer teams through the 2022-23 academic year. The girls are currently 9-3 this season.
“I had a great time coaching basketball,” said Ghere. “The kids were great to work with, and I enjoyed working with our coaching staff every day. I cannot thank Jordan Coleman, Chris Considine and Kodie Brant enough for all of the time they invested to help our players. I missed several of Lily’s games this winter including both of her regional basketball games. I also missed many of Maggie’s dance competitions. I will have time next winter to see all of their events next school year.”
Ghere took over for Josh Forsythe in the summer of 2017 and led the team to an 11-16 record in his first season. The following year saw the school’s best overall record since 1989-90. The Green Wave went 19-10 in 2018-19, posting the school’s second winning season since 1991-92.
“The highlights were winning 19 games in the 2018-2019 season, Dalton Compton hitting a game-winning three-pointer at Rantoul, Jaydon Noe nailing a 3-pointer at the buzzer at Charleston to beat them by three, and winning the Litchfield Tournament this past winter,” said Ghere.
After that season the team finished 12-20 and then 7-6 in the COVID-shortened season that saw the Green Wave defeat Lincoln for the first time since the 80s. Last year, Mattoon finished 14-17.
“I enjoyed the opportunity to coach the varsity basketball team for the past five years,” said Ghere. “The kids tried to do everything that we asked of them. I would have loved to have won more games, but I think we ran a successful program.”
In five seasons, Ghere finished 63-68 as a varsity head coach. He spent multiple seasons coaching with former head coach Bob Lockart and has coached the boys’ soccer program for the last 24 years.
As his time coaching in the district gets closer to the end, he said that he will miss the kids and that coaching them kept him young.
“I will miss being around the kids, “said Ghere. “Coaching them every day keeps me feeling younger. I will miss the practices and watching them improve. daily. Looking back, I enjoyed the opportunity. I probably learned more from the kids than they did from me. I hope the new coach has instant success with the returning players. I think we have a great group of kids coming back, and I can’t wait to sit in the stands and just relax and enjoy watching them play.”