When Westminster girls basketball coach Greg Wilson talks about failure, it isn’t something to be ashamed about. Instead, it provides a chance to grow and learn.
At Westminster, basketball provides this rare opportunity.
“Here, it gives these girls something to fail at. What I mean by that is, these kids don’t fail in anything they do,” Wilson said. “It’s OK. Basketball teaches failure and how to bounce back from it.”
After disappointment in the previous season’s region tournament, the Lady Wildcats rebounded to go 19-9 and reach the GISA Class AAA state semifinals for the first time. For his work, Wilson is The Augusta Chronicle’s independent girls basketball coach of the year.
Wilson was previously Augusta State’s women’s basketball coach. He led the Lady Jaguars to the Elite Eight for the first time in history during his nine-year tenure.
The coach left the program on his own terms, after he felt his work was done. This realization hit one practice day when he saw his players run practice themselves for the first 20 minutes. At this time, in his mind he checked off boxes for each of his goals for the program. One box was about winning consistently.
Wilson was then called into sports ministry for the Greater Augusta Fellowship of Christian Athletes before he took the Westminster job.
“He’s taught me not only about basketball, but about how to be a better person,” Westminster's Samantha Trobaugh said. “He’s a good role model. As far as basketball, he’s worked on everything with me: dribbling, getting low and defense.”
Describing the difference between high school and college coaching, Wilson said younger players are more impressionable and appreciate positive reinforcement more. Though he misses the business aspect of college, which includes players hoping to play professionally, Wilson gets to spend more time with his wife and twin sons, who are freshmen at Westminster.
As his Lady Wildcats grew from mistakes and failure they had their most successful season ever.
The same work ethic that carried the players to success in science class was leading to new heights in basketball.
“It was a storybook-type deal for us,” Wilson said. “When you don’t coach for you, and I don’t, it’s freed me up to enjoy what they’re experiencing. My only goal all year was to watch them enjoy it.”