BRAINTREE — After a widely successful stint as the boys’ basketball coach at Bishop Feehan High and then serving as an assistant coach for the MIAA Div. 3 state champion Dover-Sherborn High School boys’ basketball program last season, Matt Freeman has taken the reins of the girls’ basketball program at Braintree High.
“It’s a daunting challenge,” the former Bishop Feehan High standout hoopster and Williams College player said of taking over the girls’ team at Braintree High, which was crowned MIAA Div. 1 state champion in each of the past two seasons under Kristen McDonell.
McDonnell opted to leave Braintree High and become the boys’ basketball coach at Norwood High.
“I could have gone back to Dover-Sherborn, there were a bunch of other boys’ jobs that came about, but that didn’t appeal to me,” Freeman said. “When Kristen left, I knew about it, but it was not something that I said to myself that I’ll go after it.”
What particularly perked the interest of Freeman is that he is a member of the academic faculty at Braintree High.
“While I teach seniors, and the girls’ team graduated four seniors, I don’t know many of the other players,” Freeman said.
“Experience, passion and a commitment to excellence in the classroom and on the court are all characteristics that have led to the hiring of Matt,” Braintree High Athletic Director Mike Denise said of Freeman.
Freeman guided the Bishop Feehan High boys’ basketball team to 14 MIAA Tournaments, including the Shamrocks winning the 2015 MIAA Div. 2 South Sectional title.
“Matt’s extensive coaching experience and familiarity with the Braintree Public Schools’ mission are invaluable to heading this elite girls’ basketball program,” Denise said.
A 1995 graduate from Williams College, Freeman was a member of the Ephs’ basketball team all four years and served as a team captain as a senior.
Freeman enters his 23rd year as an educator at Braintree High School where he teaches Advanced Placement Psychology.
“His career in the classroom and on the court speaks for itself,” Denise said. “He is a quality individual that has a passion to teach and maximize the potential of his pupils.”
It was not a hasty decision on the part of Freeman to accept the post. He even sought the advice of long-time associate and Braintree High boys’ basketball coach Bob Crook and Mansfield High’s football and girls’ basketball coach Mike Redding.
“They were both good resources for me,” Freeman said. “I looked at the Braintree youth basketball programs. I talked to girls in the (Braintree High) program. My younger daughter plays basketball and she’s fairly skilled. And I thought to myself that maybe one of the factors would be that I, maybe, would be a better role model for her to coach a girls’ team.
“I know the tradition of the program, I have some big shoes to fill, but I’m not intimidated by the challenge.
“To be honest, this was not on my radar, but I’m very excited about it now. I’m in the building. I think that it’ll be a good fit.
“I’ve always put the kids first. I have the tools to coach the girls and I have the sensitivity.”