By Alex Badger, ‘20, Westborough High School
Westborough – Success. Westborough High School Varsity Boys Basketball Coach Brian Willar has become accustomed to success throughout his nine years with the team. But in no year has he had more than in the 2018-19 season, with a record of 24-4, as well as a league and district championship to match.
This team’s success is everything to Willar, and so the personal accolades were bound to come after coaching this hardworking and entertaining team to as many victories as he did. His fellow coaches took notice of his work, as he was voted as the Massachusetts Basketball Coaches’ Association’s (MBCA) Coach of the Year.
“For someone to go out of their way to nominate me,” Willar said, “that’s something that really means a lot to me… I just feel very fortunate to have earned the respect of other great coaches.”
Willar, humble as ever, immediately reflects his success right back on his players, describing the award as a “program award.”
He accredits the victory to the team itself, claiming, “This doesn’t happen unless everyone who was on that team last year puts the work in, challenges each other, and drives the success.”
For Willar, this is a culmination of his mission to establish a culture; a culture founded in a hard-working, no days off mentality that Willar himself tries to model every day.
Willar believes the coaching staff’s mindset drove the change in culture: “It’s all about getting the players to buy-in, and if they see how hard the coaches are working, from junior varsity to varsity, they’ll want to work just as hard.”
Of course, culture is a huge part of high school sports, but in the end, the players on the court need to have the talent to pair with it. Queue the class of 2019. Even when they were in sixth grade, Willar was hearing stories about the players that would help him win his first district title. With Mike and Matt Doherty, Domenic Caspariello, Jake Hughes, Jack Lentine, and Quinn Donovan leading the way, the sky was the limit.
But the players understood that they would only be able to go as far as Coach Willar could lead them.
Former senior captain and CMASS All-Star Mike Doherty commented, “To win an award for someone who’s been doubted so much really shows the special work he puts into the program.”
Willar has found success and earned the respect and admiration of his peers, but the road is far from a dead end. He is beyond excited for the future that lies ahead for himself and his program.
“Talent comes and goes,” he remarked, “all you can hope for is that the younger grades will see this success, and the culture we’re building as motivation to get their names up on the banner too.”