Eric Samuelson lists his predecessors as Hampshire’s girls basketball coach with the greatest respect.
Milt Awe was 384-108 in 17 seasons with a Class 1A third-place finish. Sue Ellett won four regionals in seven years and was 151-53 with a Class 1A state runner-up result. Ed Haugens won Class 3A regionals in his first two years, and Mike Featherly just took the Whip-Purs to a 27-6 record and the Fox Valley Conference title.
“I”m not trying to be politically correct when I say this: I am honored to have this job,” Samuelson said. “Those are some pretty big shoes to fill. I’m grateful I can still reach out to all of them.”
Samuelson’s hiring as girls basketball coach became official at the School District 300 Board meeting Tuesday night. He replaces Featherly, who took over the boys basketball job this month after Ben Whitehouse resigned as head coach after four years.
Samuelson was Featherly’s assistant coach on the girls team for three seasons. He previously coached five years as an assistant at Belvidere.
“When they asked me to take this position, I talked it over with my wife (Sarah), but it was an easy decision,” Samuelson said. “I hope I can bring something to these kids to help them not only with basketball, but later on in life.
Samuelson, a 1991 Marengo graduate, is excited by all the returning players, led by 6-foot-1 Kelby Bannerman, an NCAA Division I prospect, but the Whips will need to replace five seniors.
“We’re losing five really, really great humans in the seniors,” Samuelson said. “Not just good basketball players, but good people. Losing them will be hard to replace.”