Matt Bredesen believes he’s landed in an ideal position.
For the past half decade or so, Bredesen has been a varsity head basketball coach, but unstable teaching positions have forced him to look elsewhere or to commute from home or work to coach.
Janesville Parker High announced in a press release Monday that it has hired Bredesen as a special education teacher and as its new boys basketball coach.
Bredesen is excited to be able to coach a Big Eight Conference program and to also teach in the school where he’ll be coaching.
“It’s the area I wanted to be in and was a great opportunity when the job opened up,” Bredesen said in a phone conversation.
The school district release said Bredesen was chosen from a pool of 12 applicants, with interviews conducted by a team of school administrators and coaches, as well as a parent representative.
“Matt is known across the state as a leader in youth basketball and will undoubtedly use his expertise to take Parker boys basketball to the next level,” Parker principal Chris Laue said in the release.
Laue did not return a voicemail seeking further comment Monday.
Bredesen spent the past two seasons as head coach at Waupaca. The team went 8-38 in those two seasons, including 5-18 last year, according to results on WisSports.net.
“Leaving there largely in part for the fact I actually teach in Stevens Point,” Bredesen said. “The stress of teaching in one district and coaching in another is difficult. I just feel you miss out on a lot of the relationship pieces and things like that when you’re not in the same district for both positions.”
Prior to coaching Waupaca, Bredesen spent one season as head coach at Green Bay West after spending three years in the same position at Montello. He also had a one-year stint earlier in his coaching career at Pembine High in northern Wisconsin.
Bredesen said his job in the Montello district became unstable when a referendum failed and grant money ran out.
“At that point, I just kind of needed to see what I could find,” Bredesen said. “I’ve been in some positions where it (my departure) had nothing to do with the basketball jobs and everything to do with the teaching positions, as far as money and budget and things.”
Bredesen knows he has his work cut out for him in building up Parker boys basketball.
He replaces Keith Miller, who stepped down after this past season to devote more time to his family. Parker went 6-63 in Miller’s three seasons. The program hasn't won more than nine games in any season in the past decade.
“Being a Wisconsin basketball guy, I know the Big Eight is one of the top three conferences in the state, in D1 for sure,” Bredesen said. “I know that Parker hasn’t been great in recent years, but I also think Parker is a program that can definitely be built.
"I’m looking for something long-term, where now I’m in a very stable teaching position. So I’m looking forward to the opportunity to get into the school and the youth and really build that program.”
Bredesen said he will also continue his coaching work with the Wisconsin Swing AAU basketball program, which is based out of Waunakee.
“Janesville to Waunakee is not that far, and I coach high-level teams every year through the Swing, and they’re teams I’ve kind of put together, so it’s fun,” Bredesen said. “I’ve had kids in Swing that play in the Big Eight. So basketball in that area is very familiar to me.”
Bredesen will continue in his current teaching position through the end of the school year, with hopes of trying to be moved to Janesville by mid-June. And he said he’ll work on coordinating summer opportunities for Parker between now and then so he can quickly get a feel for the program.
“I’m just really looking forward to hitting the ground running,” Bredesen said.