Boys Basketball: Ben Widner willing to invest time into Glenbrook South improvement

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Updated: April 18, 2012 9:35AM



Ben Widner was content with his career as a teacher and an assistant basketball coach at Glenbrook South.

The 35-year-old never gave much thought to becoming a head coach until Titans’ boys basketball boss Scott Nemecek resigned last month.

“When I heard Scott was resigning, I considered it,” Widner, who didn’t coach at all last season. “I had a lot of discussion with my family and people I am close with whether or not this is the right time or right position for me. After those conversations, my gut told me it was the right time to apply for the job.”

Glenbrook South announced Widner’s hiring Monday.

A graduate of Benet Academy and University of St. Francis in Joliet, Widner played basketball in both high school and college. He arrived at Glenbrook South in 2000 and reunited with John Meyer, a former coach at Benet.

Widner served as a coach on the lower levels, bouncing between the freshmen and varsity during his tenure. At one point, he assisted Meyer, who was his sophomore coach at in Lisle.

“He was the first guy I worked for, and he still is a big influence on me,” Widner said.

Because Widner and his wife lived in Chicago with their two children, he didn’t believe he had enough time to dedicate to being a head coach.

Part of that changed when he recently moved his family to Glenview.

“I am really invested in the community now, and that’s important,” he said. “I know I have the energy for it, and it will take a lot of energy.”

Widner takes over a team that went 8-20 last season and a program that finished 63-98 in six seasons under Nemecek. The Titans last won a regional title in 2009, and it was only the fourth in school history.

As of Tuesday, Widner had yet to talk to players involved in the program. He plans to do so as soon as possible and pass on his coaching philosophy.

“I coached a lot of them as freshmen, so I know a good chunk of those guys,” he said. “I have a good handle on the kids in the program, and I am pumped to be able to work with them.”

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