When Daryl Fox took over Edgerton High’s boys basketball program five years ago, the Crimson Tide were coming off a 4-19 season and had only won 12 total games in a two-year span.
His formula for turning the program around was a simple one: work hard on both ends of the court, trust your teammates and if you weren’t going to commit 100%, then don’t bother coming out.
Fox could write a book on how well that formula has worked.
Edgerton is 6-0 this season and is ranked seventh in Division 3 in the WisSports.net state coaches poll. The Crimson Tide are 73-33 under Fox, and if you take out an 11-13 record in season one, are an impressive 62-20 the last four years.
“This isn’t about me,” Fox said. “This is about all those kids that have bought in to what we’re trying to do, and that’s have a strong work ethic and doing all you can to get better as a player.
“I’ve been coaching most of these kids since they were little, and I knew they had a chance to be a special group once they got up to high school because of how they approached things. It started with guys like Jacob Fox, who passed on the strong work ethic to guys like Brian Rusch and Nick Spang and Clayton Jenny and Drew Hanson, and now they’ve passed it on to (younger players like) Connor Coombs and Peyton Fox.”
Edgerton went 20-5 last year and saw the season end in a Division 3 sectional semifinal loss to Rock Valley Conference foe Beloit Turner. The Crimson Tide figured to take a step back this season with the loss of the 6-foot-8 Spang and Rusch—now playing at Beloit College. Hanson is the tallest player on this year’s roster at 6-2.
Yet despite the lack of size, the Tide are thriving. In racing out to its 6-0 start, Edgerton is averaging 85.3 points a game, including 201 in the last two games.
If you want to watch unselfish, hard-nosed basketball, find a replay of a stream online of this year’s team.
The ball barely touches the floor on the offensive end as the non-stop movement, precision passing and 3-point shooting accuracy has buried teams early and often.
Jenny is the best player on the team and may have to rethink his commitment to play at UW-Platteville. The 6-1 senior is averaging 28.8 points a game and is playing at a high enough level that he’s sure to attract some attention from a number of Division II schools. He’s seventh in the state in scoring and has become almost nearly impossible to stop one-on-one.
“That’s what happens when you work as hard as he has on not only his game but his body, too,” Fox said of Jenny. “He’s just a great competitor that makes all those around him that much better.”
Jenny’s scoring prowess this season has caused fits for opponents. When team’s try to double-team him, it opens up the floor for the Tide’s other outside marksmen in Coombs and Hanson. That duo had 12 of the team’s 13 3-pointers in a 103-67 win over Janesville Craig last week.
“It’s a nice problem to have,” Fox said of the Tide having so many options offensively. “Teams can’t just focus on Clayton, because if they do, Drew with that silky smooth left-handed jumper and Coombs with his ability to shoot from anywhere are going to make you pay.
“And a lot of what we get on the offensive end starts with our defense, and that’s always going to be the case as long as I’m coaching. If you can’t get after it on the defensive end and just care about scoring and what happens offensively for us, there’s no room for you in our program. We’ve lost some kids who probably could’ve helped us because of that.”
Fox doesn’t settle for average effort or average play. In the Tide’s blowout of Craig, with his team leading by 35 late in the game, Fox immediately called a timeout when his team got beat in transition for an easy layup.
“I won’t settle for that and the kids know it,” Fox said. I don’t care what the score is or who we’re playing, you’re going to work hard for 36 minutes on both ends of the court or you’re going to take a seat on the bench next to me.”
Fox is looking forward to the upcoming schedule. The Tide host sixth-ranked Lake Mills (Division 3) and play at longtime Rock Valley heavyweight East Troy in early January.
Daryl Fox has the Edgerton Crimson Tide on a fast track to success thanks to a simple formula.
John Barry is a sports writer for The Gazette. Reach him at email@example.com.