BNL faces rebuilding project
with new coach, young team
By Justin Sokeland
Note: This week, with the start of official practices for fall sports looming, we’ll look at five different sports and examine the key issues heading into the 2016-17 calendar season.
1. What direction will the program take with the coaching change?
For the first time in 10 years, Bedford North Lawrence is under new management with the hiring of Matt Seifers as the eighth head coach in school history. Seifers follows in the footsteps of Bob Masterson, Mike Sorrells, Dan Bush, Mark Mathews, Mark Ryan, Damon Bailey and Jamie Hudson.
The last five on that list were linked, the line of succession was evident and the course was basically unaltered. They did it the “BNL Way,” if such a label exists. That is no longer the case. Seifers is new blood, and he will feature a new style, a different philosophy. His background is based on old-school instruction and fundamental training, but his resume includes more AAU success as a coach.
Change is often viewed negatively, stubbornly, skeptically, unfairly. While Seifers has taken the position under less-than-ideal circumstances following a controversial administration decision, the fate of a proud program is now in his hands. Change takes time to implement, to succeed, to accept. Patience will be required before any verdict can be rendered.
2. Who will provide leadership on the court?
The Stars lost 8 seniors, and 87 percent of their offense, from last year’s 14-11 squad. Only two players with measurable varsity experience will return, and both split time on the junior varsity. The senior class will likely be dangerously small, which is not unprecedented (Jackson Ryan was the lone upperclassman in 2013).
Last season’s overachievers had success because of their single-minded purpose, their unity and sacrifice, their willingness to sacrifice. That example needs to be repeated if a young team can overcome the obvious obstacles confronting the Stars. Somebody will have to set the tone in practice, in the locker room, off the court. The wrong examples would be devastating.
3. How many games will BNL win this season?
This is a tough one. The pessimist will look at all the upheaval, at the inexperience at almost every level, at the sweeping changes and the rebuilding project, at a conference and sectional that includes the defending state champion and the state’s best player, and predict gloom and misery.
So far, during the brief June scrimmage and camp season, that has not happened. BNL earned its share of wins during that important introductory period. BNL’s schedule is not designed for sandbagging and pillow fluffing, and some difficult challenges are ahead, make no mistake about that. But don’t discount BNL’s young talent. The Stars could surprise some of the critics.