After 22 seasons with the Elizabethtown Area High School basketball team, junior varsity head coach and varsity assistant Greg Wood is retiring from coaching. He will be replaced as JV coach by Cam Hoover, who served as the junior high varsity coach last season.
Wood graduated from the high school in 1975 after lettering two years on the basketball team. He joined the coaching staff in 1996 under then-head coach Bob Freund and continued as an assistant alongside seven other head coaches (Jim Thomasson, Lance Wagner, A.J. Beamer, John Ruby, Jon Reichard, Kevin Dolan and current head coach Rocky Parise). He works as a member of the customer service team for Wenger Feeds.
His entrance to the team came under dire circumstances. Freund had to take a leave of absence to have heart surgery, with Thomasson taking over as interim coach from his JV spot and every other staff member moving up a spot. That left the junior high coach position vacant, and Wood, whose son was on the team at the time, volunteered to fill the spot. Freund stepped down permanently the next season in favor of Thomasson, which began a two-decade-plus tenure as an assistant for Wood.
“That’s where my heart is,” he said. “Early on, there was a revolving door at head coach, but I was lucky that each coach wanted to keep me on. It’s unusual for an assistant to stay that long, so I’m grateful for that. Once Kevin was hired, we had some stability, and the team got better as a result. Rocky’s done a good job of maintaining that these last couple of seasons.”
Wood cites the team’s playoff run in 2008 as a highlight of his time as a coach. He’s also had the opportunity to catch up with some of his former players, mostly at his grandchildren’s youth soccer games.
“Obviously to see the kids in awe at the Giant Center was something special,” he said. “But just in the last couple of years, I’ve run into players I’ve coached and gotten to see them as parents, which is pretty unique.”
Hoover joined the coaching staff in 2014 as the fifthgrade travel team coach, moving up to sixth-grade coach, junior high JV coach and junior high varsity coach in each successive season. He graduated from EAHS in 2011 after four years on the basketball team and is currently an aircraft mechanic crew chief in the United States Air Force.
The summer league schedule for the Bears is set to begin at Spooky Nook Sports on Thursday, June 7, with two games against Cedar Cliff and Bishop McDevitt. Wood is looking forward to seeing the team grow from outside of the staff, though he’ll miss spending time with the players.
“I love the game,” Wood said. “The camaraderie of the staff, especially under Kevin and Rocky, is gonna be something I’ll miss. There’s a special group of kids there now, and I can’t wait to see how they grow next season. But I’ll miss seeing their smiling faces at practices every day.”