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BOYS HOOPS: Zack Myers tabbed as new Manteno coach

July 6, 2018

MANTENO — For the past 13 years, Doug Wenzel has been at the helm of Manteno’s boys basketball program.

But when opportunities coming knocking on your door, you answer and prepare yourself for the next chapter.

When Wenzel stepped down to accept a new role as the new high school athletic director, one of his first steps was to hire his replacement.

Wenzel found Zack Myers, who now takes the reigns of the hoops program.

“I wanted to take that step to coach at the next level,” Myers said. “Being familiar with the area, I have always had a great respect and fondness for Manteno schools. The school support around town is something I think goes unnoticed, but it is very important to me. I look forward to taking over for Mr. Wenzel and I believe good things are in store for Manteno basketball.”

Manteno will be Myers’ first varsity program.

However, it’s not his first time being a coach as he’s coached at Peotone, Gardner-South Wilmington and Herscher over the past seven years.

He is a 2007 graduate of Dwight High School and believes that his familiarity of the area, and of the Interstate Eight Conference, benefits him and allows for a nice transition.

“I am looking forward to leading this program into the future,” Myers said. “For me, I believe it starts with building a solid base at the middle school level and carrying that into high school.”

However, challenges await Meyer as he’ll be working with nearly a brand new core of Panthers this winter.

Seven seniors, including three-pointer sharpshooter Harry Crawford, have graduated and left a giant hole for the Panthers this season.

Only four players from last year’s roster are slated to return.

Luckily for Myers, one of those players is junior Darien Bechard, who was the team’s second-leading scorer and leading rebounder.

Also returning to the team are seniors Anthony Lopez, Tyler Irvin and Vinny Mazieka.

“We’ve been up and down so far this summer, but we know we are building towards the season,” Myers said. “It’s never easy coming in as a new coach and changing some things, but the guys have really stepped up and accepted the challenge. They’ve been working hard and are really buying into the system.”

Myers inherits a program that hasn’t seen much success in terms of wins and losses.

Manteno hasn’t enjoyed a winning season since 2012 (18-10), hasn’t won 20 games in a season since 2010 (20-8) and hasn’t won a regional championship since 2006.

Although the challenges and struggles are going to be there in year one, Myers has high hopes for his Panthers.

“I expect us to be competitive in both our non-conference and conference games,” Myers said. “I believe in a strong base of fundamentals and disciplined defense. If we’re solid on those two things, I believe we can finish in the top half of the conference standings, which is our goal.”

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