As some may have heard, Coach Matt Stevenson has announced that he will not return to coach the girls’ basketball team for the 2023-2024 season. We are appreciative of Coach Stevenson’s efforts and commitment to our students this past winter.
While disappointed with Coach Stevenson’s departure, we are pleased to announce that we are enthusiastically elevating Winchendon’s dynamic assistant coach Niya Johnson to be the next head coach of our girls’ basketball program. As we looked around the region at prospective coaches, it became clear to us that the best potential leader for our vision of a highly competitive girls program was “already in the house”. In just her first year, Coach Johnson earned the respect and appreciation of the girls and their parents for her leadership and knowledge of the game.
This opportunity for Coach Johnson and The Winchendon School is made much more attractive knowing that she will move into this role with the highly skilled coaches Kevin Kehoe and Kenny Green as mentors and supporters. Coach Green and Coach Johnson worked closely this past winter, and as Coach Green has said, “Coach Johnson knows every aspect of my playbook.” That proved to be a pretty successful playbook! As well, Coach Kehoe, the Director of Winchendon’s basketball program, is revered for having successfully mentored many younger coaches who have gone on to great success.
In reflecting on the opportunity, Coach Johnson quoted Maya Angelou saying “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Coach Johnson went on “This quote inspires me every day. Being a bridge and a mentor, on and off the court, for student-athletes as they find their way and transition from high school to college has always been a dream of mine. Being able to share my passion, my story, teach, and inspire others, is one of the many reasons I am thrilled to step into the role of Head Coach for the Winchendon Girls’ Varsity Basketball program. I am excited and look forward to continuing to build and work with the fantastic returning core group of girls that push, challenge, and motivate me every day, in addition to some new and exciting student-athletes who are being recruited to our roster. Every day is an opportunity for us as a program, on and off the court, to lay the bricks for the foundation that makes us the most respected, intentional, and competitive program in New England!”
We will begin a search immediately for an assistant for Coach Johnson, and we will be specifically looking for someone who can not only assist her on the bench but also with recruiting top student-athletes to our girls program.
Once again, we are appreciative of Coach Stevenson’s work with our team this past year – and thrilled with the opportunity to see Coach Johnson move into the leadership of this program for the coming years.