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Tuesday, Sep. 16, 2014

Britton off and running at Bloomfield

Posted Friday, June 17, 2011, at 2:43 PM

BLOOMFIELD -- New Bloomfield High School boys basketball coach Matt Britton has had a busy month of June and expects an even busier July.

The 1996 BHS graduate has been having open gyms in the morning with his new troops, which feature some 25 players.

He also just completed his youth camps, which featured 85 boys in four sessions and included kids in incoming grades K-8 here at Guy Glover Gymnasium.

"I am just trying to make the transition," said Britton, who was hired as coach and junior high science teacher by a 7-0 vote by the Bloomfield School District board of trustees to replace John Bucher, who resigned in April. "It has been hectic, but it also has been a lot of fun getting to meet the kids and their parents.

"I have been learning from the kids and I hope they have been learning from me."

Britton said after taking off the week of July 4 for the Indiana High School Athletic Association moratorium, they will go to a basketball team camp July 11-14 in Fort Wayne.

"We will be busy all the way through July," he said.

Britton inherits a program that posted back-to-back losing seasons -- 10-13 and 7-16 under Bucher -- but advanced to the Class 2A Sectional championship game in both seasons before falling to South Knox in 2010 and Eastern Greene in 2011.

The Cardinals will still be competing in 2A, but North Central and Sullivan will join the Cardinals, Eastern Greene, Linton-Stockton, South Knox and North Knox in the newest sectional alignment. The Cards last sectional title came in 2009, the final season under coach Ron McBride.

Britton, who was a finalist for the Linton-Stockton job a year ago and also at BHS when McBride resigned to take over as BHS athletic director, said it is a honor to come back home and he is excited about having this opportunity at his alma mater.

Britton, who said they plan to play several games and have their team camp in July, had a 12-11 record last season at South Spencer.

He has an 82-48 record in five seasons as a varsity boys basketball coaching stint, including a regional and sectional championship and two conference titles at Class 2A St. Anthony's High School in Effingham, Ill.

Britton said this time in the summer is invaluable for a new coach trying to implement his way of coaching and teaching.

"It is going to take some time and patience to learn a new system," said Britton, who scored a career high 37 points in a 82-70 win over Sullivan as a senior on Feb. 20, 1996. "There will undoubtedly be changes from what they are used to.

"Maybe that'll take a little time. Maybe we'll not be all the way there in a year -- because remember, Rome wasn't built in a day -- but we will get there."

After finishing with 934 points at Bloomfield, which is currently 10th best in BHS boys hoop history, Britton played two seasons at the University of Indianapolis. He was named the Great Lakes Valley Conference Freshman of the Year at U of I in 1997.

Britton, who has a wife Dana and two daughters, 6 and 4, later played two seasons at Eastern Illinois University, where he had a chance to play in the NCAA Tournament and earned both Bachelor's and Master's Degrees.

Britton, who has coached nine years, five as head coach including a stint at West Washington, said the summers for a basketball team and their coaches are like a second season.

"There is no regulations for coaches in the summer," he said. "Other states have a limit on the amount of time you can spend with your team, but Indiana doesn't.

"We are going to get to play about 25-30 games, which will be a good learning experience for us. But I am not so sure that the IHSAA shouldn't consider tightening the regulations. It is really hard on the kids. It is very demanding, especially when you have athletes that play more than one sport like you usually do at smaller school. Also, it is costly for families to send their kids to camps."

B.J. Hargis is the sports editor at the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached at (812) 874-4487, ext 12 or at hargisbj@gmail.com.

Daily World reporter Mark Stalcup contributed to this story.


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