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Excited English takes over Waterloo program that has special meaning

Excited English takes over Waterloo program that has special meaning


By Tom Nader

Publisher and Editor


In mid-May, Gavin English was announced was the new boys basketball head coach at Waterloo High School.

The 21-year-old and 2021 graduate is only the school’s fourth coach in program history.


The program’s lineage began with legendary Fred Brookover, who coached the Vikings from 1961-1978. His teams won 221 games, he was named Coach of the Year four times and he coached the Vikes to three league championships.

John Herchek coached from 1979-2012, won 391 games, was named Coach of the Year six times and won six league titles.

Jason Wise was next to take over the Vikings, coaching from 2013-2024, winning 137 games , two league crowns and a Coach of the Year honor.

Herchek played for Brookover.

Wise played for Herchek.

And the Waterloo basketball tree continues to be rooted, with English being a former player of Wise.

All coaches were unique in their philosophies and strategies, but ultimately, Brookover’s stamp remained along the way.

“It is an honor to be just the fourth boys basketball coach at Waterloo,” English said. “I believe having stability at the top within a program is one of the keys to success. Coach Herchek and coach Wise both grew up in the basketball program and their philosophies stem from coach Brookover,. I am very excited to keep that tradition around.”

English’s staff will include more Waterloo graduates.

Joe Ganoe will be the team’s lead varsity assistant. He graduated in 2009, was an assistant under Herchek in 2010 and was the JV coach for Wise in 2016 and 2017.

Navarre Alhassan, who graduated in 2023 and coached the middle-school program a year ago, will be the JV head coach. Alhassan is also a student assistant on the Kent State men’s basketball team.

English has spent the last two seasons as Waterloo’s JV coach and jumped at the opportunity to take over the program upon Wise’s resignation in mid-March.

“I really wanted to go after this coaching opportunity because of what the basketball program means to the community,” English said. “I have been a part of the program for as long as I can remember, being a ball boy for the high-school team while coming up through the youth program. This specific opportunity is a special one.

“I am extremely excited to have the opportunity to coach at the school I grew up at,” English added. “The kids at all levels of the program are eager to get better and love being in the gym every chance they get, which as a coach, is very exciting.”

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