After being hired as Head Girls' Basketball Coach at Southern Door High School in Brussels, Wis., earlier this school year, Brandon Wautier was eager for a familiar face with plenty of experience to join his staff. He found the perfect person in someone who has known him longer than anybody--his mother.
Having spent 26 years coaching various levels at Southern Door, Penny Wautier had recently retired as head girls' j.v. coach following the 2010-11 season. She agreed to come back to coach alongside her son.
"After I interviewed for the job," says Brandon Wautier, "I told her that if I got it, I would love to have her run the j.v. team and help me out as an assistant varsity coach, but at that time she didn't commit to anything. When I got hired, she was pretty excited and accepted my offer right away."
Prior to moving back to Southern Door, his alma mater, Brandon Wautier spent two years running the boys' freshman team at a nearby high school, but he had no experience coaching girls. However, Penny Wautier had plenty, and was instrumental in helping Brandon make the transition.
"My mom was great about teaching me how to deal with the different types of conflicts that can pop up with girls and how to communicate with them, which is a little different than with a boys' team," says Brandon. "Also, she was very familiar with the players, having coached them at the middle school and j.v. levels, which gave the program continuity and earned me instant credibility. That allowed me to hit the ground running."
Though he's not sure if his mother will retain her j.v. head coaching duties next season, Brandon hopes she'll stay on as his varsity assistant coach for years to come. "We have a lot of the same offensive and defensive philosophies and approaches to the game--we're always on the same page," he says. "Plus, it's been nice being able to spend time together at practice. For us, basketball has always been a common bond."