New England finds new coach

The New England Boys Basketball program has a new leader at the helm.

Following the Tigers’ run to the state tournament this spring, Head Coach Luke Powers submitted his resignation and accepted a job at his Alma Mater in Butte, Mont.

Devin Gonzales talks with his new team and their parents at an introduction on June 16 at New England School. [PHOTO BY COLE BENZ | The Herald]
Devin Gonzales talks with his new team and their parents at an introduction on June 16 at New England School. [PHOTO BY COLE BENZ | The Herald]
By COLE BENZ | Herald Editor | cbenz@countrymedia.net

The New England Boys Basketball program has a new leader at the helm.

Following the Tigers’ run to the state tournament this spring, Head Coach Luke Powers submitted his resignation and accepted a job at his Alma Mater in Butte, Mont.

New England has found someone to fill that void, Devin Gonzales.

Gonzales comes to the team with a high level of college experience, both as a player and as a coach.

Gonzales is a native of Boulder, Colo. and played college basketball in Spearfish, SD for Black Hills State University. Following his playing time he was a graduate assistant with the team, then he spent some time as an assistant coach with the Dickinson State University basketball team.

New England Activities Director Daryl Jung said that Gonzales’ experience at the college level is what attracted them. They interviewed two candidates and thought Gonzales was their choice.

“He just kind of fit the bill,” Jung said. “We were fortunate enough to get experience too in a coach, so we’re very, very lucky.”

Gonzales will also be a faculty member with New England Public Schools. He will be the Technology Coordinator and teaching some technology classes. Gonzales will also be teaching some business classes which is going to allow the student body to apply for more scholarships, specifically ones that require business class experience.

Gonzales will be looking to build off what the team accomplished last year. He said his biggest appeal was the culture that coach Powers built, and how the school and community rallied around the team the entire season.

“You can tell how passionate the community is about basketball,” Gonzales said. “It’s really evident to me that there is going to be a lot of support.”

During an introductory session at New England school on June 16, Gonzales said he has five priorities ranked from most important to least important: faith, family, academics, basketball, and social life. He wants to instill this same line of priorities to how he coaches the team.

He also wants to make sure that his team is the best conditioned and hardest working squad in the state.

Hard work was how he got to where he is.

During his high school years, Gonzales was actually cut from the team during his sophomore year. And instead of moping around about it, he turned it to motivation and made varsity the next year. Though he only started one game in high school, he kept working at his craft and improved everyday to start for his college team. This is the kind of work ethic he wants his team to display, both on and off the court. Win the day, he says.

“It’s really about building young men and servant leadership,” Gonzales said.

The team will need to be conditioned to play in Gonzales’ system, a system that will feature a high tempo pace both on offense and defense.

“That’s what I’m hoping is going to set us apart in New England,” Gonzales said.

He had the itch to always get back into coaching, but it wasn’t until watching the Tigers make their way through the region that he was really inspired to get back to game. He mentioned that during his introduction at the school, and how ironic it was that the very team he was inspired by is the one he now has the opportunity to be coaching.

The team will start to get together soon, and Gonzales is going to work with the whole group and take time for individual attention.

Gonzales is still rounding out his coaching staff but one definite assistant is someone who is familiar with New England basketball.

Shawn Flaherty.

Flaherty coached in New England during the 1980s and brought the Tigers to the state tournament in 1985, so he will have experience and familiarity with the community and school.

For now Gonzales can’t wait to get into the swing of things, and the season can’t start soon enough for him.

“I’ve barely been able to sleep I’m so excited, and it’s June,” Gonzales said.

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