Woodlan hires John Baker as new boys basketball head coach
It did not take Woodlan High School long to replace boys basketball coach David Randall, who resigned last month, as he told News-Sentinel.com on Monday.
Woodlan Athletic Director Dave Boyce has now confirmed that the school has hired John Baker to take over the program.
“This isn’t he kind of opportunity that comes around very often,” Baker said. “As I was looking into it, the things that kept popping up from talking to people from the program and community is the kids love basketball and are willing to work at it; that’s a huge component to building a successful program. The leadership in the school and in the corporation is great and the parents and the community are in it for each other and supportive of the coach and the kids in the school.”
Baker last coached at Bellmont from 2011-2017. He registered a 26-106 record and did not have a winning record or Sectional win during that time. The Braves have not had a winning record at all since 2005 under current Zionsville head coach Shaun Busick. Baker currently teaches at Prince Chapman Academy, which like Woodlan is part of East Allen County Schools. He hopes at some point to be able to move to Woodlan, which is a K-12 campus, in order to help build the program from the ground up.
Despite his woes at Bellmont, Baker feels that a year spent away from the game has rekindled his passion.
“The last season I kind of took off and stepped away from the game and allowed me to reevaluate where I was. I knew I had that desire to get back involved,” Baker said. “Being a high school basketball coach can be a grind. It can dominate certain aspects of your life. Having that time to get away and spending that time with my family just kind of re-energizes you. Jumping into this — thinking about the things that were successful and maybe weren’t successful at the last place and try to find reasons why — just that reflection is a big deal.”
Baker will be the first new coach for the Warriors since Randall took the program back over in 2011 following a six year hiatus from coaching the program. Baker will be the fifth coach for Woodlan in the last 26 seasons. The team’s best record over that time was 18-7 in 2013-2014 and they have had just six winning seasons out of those 26 years.
Woodlan went 9-14 last season following a co-ACAC championship season the year before. The Warriors have graduated top three scorers Aaron Hahn, Ah’lan Howard and Micah Robbins.
They will return a quartet of players who contributed as sophomores last season in Mitch Mendenhall (21 minutes per game, 7.2 points per game), Ben Reidy (14.2 mpg, 3.9 ppg), Aiden Bayman (17.5 mpg, 3.2 ppg) and Trevor Wiedenhoeft (21.5 mpg, 3.2 ppg). Mendenhall and Bayman appeared in all 23 games last season while Reidy and Wiedenhoeft appeared in 22 games.
“I am excited to work with those juniors. When you have four kids, who as sophomores, played around 20 minutes or more a game, that is a pretty good start. You get to the speed of the game and that’s a huge adjustment that first year. So having that out of the way, we are in a very good spot in having those guys back,” Baker said.
The Warriors will also add 6-foot-4 freshman Ben Reidy.
Baker has already sat down with several players and their parents to introduce himself and what his expectations are in the program. The team started workouts on Wednesday night and hope to get some games in towards the end of the month.