While there are several new players on the squad, there’s also a new voice leading them in Andrew Schweitzer, who is now the seventh varsity coach in program history. He takes Waubonsie after coaching the sophomore team at Wheaton Warrenville South.
Andrew Schweitzer: “As soon as I got that call, I was absolutely jacked because I know the type of success they’ve had here, the type of kids they have here. I was kind of waiting for the right opportunity for me. You know, this was something that I’d kind of been planning the last year or so hoping that something would pop up.”
The Wheaton North graduate taught and coached at Wheaton South for the past decade. He was an assistant for varsity football before also joining basketball where he again was varsity assistant for two seasons. Schweitzer then coached freshman for one year before running the sophomores for the past three.
Schweitzer: “I remember being on the bus on the way back from a game and I was absolutely excited so I was all in.”
Schweitzer has been able to get acclimated with his new Waubonsie team. It won’t be easy to replace All-State forward Ben Schwieger, who averaged 17 points and 8 rebounds last season, and now suits up for the Loyola Chicago Ramblers. But this year’s Warriors have already developed quite the camaraderie with one another.
Schweizer: “Right away, luckily in the spring, I was able to have some practices cause the IHSA allowed for it and this is a group that just loves basketball, loves to work hard. I’m just proud to be coaching this group.
Samy Ennassiri: “He’s a really good coach, he always talks about hard work and how we’re going to overcome the obstacles that we’ll face this year. We know that there are going to be obstacles this season and he always just preaches just working hard and giving effort.”
Tyler Helbing: “Schweitzer’s a really good dude. At first, obviously everyone had some questions with a new coach and everything. Then when he showed up, we got to know him and meet him over the summer. We all knew that he was a great guy and he wanted to win.”
Jacob Razo: “I like how he really approaches toughness and a high standard of etiquette on and off the court. We’ll see him in the halls and he’ll be like, ‘Hey, come on. Get to class.’ He’ll just make sure we’re always giving our best effort in trying to reach excellence.”
Now getting his first chance to run a varsity team, Coach Schweitzer has had to make some adjustments since arriving at Waubonsie.
Schweitzer: “The biggest difference is now you’re in charge of an entire program. In terms of the coaching aspect, the X’s and O’s, the running practices, there’s really not a huge difference there. But in terms of the overall picture and administrative work that goes along with being a head coach, that’s completely different.”
Going into this year, he has some big shoes to fill as he replaces Jason Mead who stepped down after coaching the Warriors for five seasons. Coach Mead turned the Warriors around from a last place team to a 27 win regional champion, but he has lent a helping hand to his successor.
Schweitzer: “You know, I think it was three or four weeks after I got hired, him and I had about an hour and a half phone call just talking about the players, talking about the program, talking about the conference, talking about some of the administrative stuff, to be quite honest, that I didn’t know how to do.”
While the culture of the program has been more of the same, there has been a difference in concepts from Mead to Schweitzer.
Schweitzer: “In terms of how we practice, in terms of holding kids accountable, in terms of creating a culture beyond the game of basketball, I think we’re 100% on the same page. X’s and O’s wise, we definitely do some things differently. Offensively, we have some similarities, but defensively, what I run and what I know is completely different than what he ran.”
He has a ton of passion for the game of basketball along with coaching players. A lot of that developed at a young age.
Schweitzer: “Growing up, you name the sport I played it. I was the kid that on the street, you know, pickup games, I was liable to sometimes get a little bit out of line if I was losing. I love the spirit of competition, I love what it brings out of people, I love teamwork, I love being a part of a team.”
It will be interesting to see how that energy translates onto the hardwood at Waubonsie Valley.
For Naperville Sports Weekly, I’m Josiah Schueneman.
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