It’s been 10 years since the Jeeps wore the crown as state champions. On Tuesday night, the South Webster community will have an opportunity to relive the memories of that illustrious 18-2 season.
Former head coach Marc Kreischer, who guided the Jeeps to the title, will be on hand along with former players and cheerleaders from the 2005-2006 season.
There is going to be a hospitality room setup during the junior varsity game for former coaches, players, cheerleaders and invited guests to connect prior to the evening’s events, which includes a presentation prior to the start of the varsity game.
“It’s going to be a great evening to celebrate the great accomplishment of that team,” Kreischer said.
When Kreischer was informed of the event, he began reminiscing about that team and that season.
“Once they set this thing up for Tuesday night, the last couple of weeks have made me think back at different moments throughout that season and really just the hard work and dedication from the kids,” Kreischer said.
“I remember one specific thing. There was a lot of pressure on that team and maybe more so that I realized. When you’re in the moment, you’re just preparing and doing things that you’ve always done to try to keep things normal. But I remember when the kids were checking out of the (state title) game, a couple of them told me that the pressure’s off. I’ll never forget that because I don’t think I realized how much pressure the kids felt.”
After winning the championship, Kreischer had one last piece of advice for his team as he knew they would forever be a part of history.
“I remember telling them after we had won, after the pep rally that took place that evening, one of the last things I told them was ‘make sure you do everything you can to be successful from this point forward because you’re always going to be known for winning a state basketball title but make it more it more than that; be successful in five, 10, 15 years, whenever we celebrate that accomplishment that you are remembered more for what you did after the fact,’” Kreischer said. “I’m very proud of all the players and what they’ve done from that point forward.”
One player that took his coaches’ advice to heart was Fenton who not only went into coaching for himself, but later became head coach at his alma mater.
“Really that’s what motivated me to get into this profession,” Fenton said. “It was my junior year when we won it. I enjoyed basketball my whole life. It was that moment on the bus, I remember telling myself that I wanted to feel this again. It was the best feeling I ever had and I really want to feel it again. I knew at that point that it was probably going to come from coaching.
“I enjoyed what my coaches did for me. How they shaped and sculpted our lives in various ways and that was something I was interested in doing because I care about South Webster and the program and the community. Even if you don’t win a state title, just to be able to make that impact on their lives. It really shaped my entire future and what I was going to do with my life.”
Fenton wasn’t the only player on the team that has joined the coaching ranks and Kreischer looks forward to catching up with them, along with all of his other players.
“I’ll definitely enjoy ever minute of it,” Kreischer. “One of the proudest things that has come about is Ryan and Brigham (Waginger), (Nick) Bowman, a lot of the players have gone into coaching. It’s just amazing, the list goes on really of all the players that are now coaches. It’ll be fun to talk to those guys. It makes me feel good because it shows they enjoyed the experience and wanted to take their lives in the same direction. Obviously, if they didn’t enjoy those experiences and being coached by myself and coach (Jeff) Bradley and coach (Brenton) Cole, they probably wouldn’t be in that business themselves.”
As far as Fenton his concerned, he’ll attempt to enjoy himself while also trying to figure out a way to beat the Waverly Tigers. While Kreischer no longer has that problem, Fenton acknowledged that he’ll probably still be in his ear during the game.
“Don’t let coach Kreischer fool you. He won’t enjoy it that much during the game. He’ll probably be hollering at me throughout, telling the kids to box out, get in the right position and things like that. There is just as much pressure on him,” Fenton said jokingly.
“I’m definitely going to enjoy the moment. They deserve it. A lot of these guys are still so close, we talk all the time. We were close then, we’re even closer now. That’s not the reason we stuck together. We really cared about each other. It’s going to mean a lot to me to honor them. Waverly is a very good team, a very quick team. So, hopefully our kids understand that this isn’t just a ceremony …”
Fenton also acknowledged how important it was for his team to understand the moment and understand the achievement of the 2005-2006 team.
“It gives the kids something to look up too,” Fenton said. “A lot of these kids I have now, they were so young when we won the title they probably don’t have that many memories of it. But it’s good to understand that through hard work and dedication, it is achievable even at a small school like this. So it gives the kids something to look up too, something to work for and something to care about …”