Vikings turn to alum Houpt as head coach

DANVILLE — Once again, Danville High School is going back to one of its own.

It worked well in 2005, when B.J. Luke was hired as football coach, and school administrators hope the formula is successful as another alum returns to take over as the boys' basketball head coach.

Ted Houpt, a 1982 graduate and the team's Most Valuable Player as a senior, was unanimously approved Wednesday night by the District 118 Board of Education as the coach for the 2012-13 season. He replaces Gary Tidwell, who resigned last month after four seasons.

Unlike Luke, who returned to his alma mater from Waubonsie Valley, the 48-year-old Houpt won't need to relocate. A history teacher, he is in his 23rd year on the DHS faculty.

He had a successful 17-year run as the boys' tennis head coach, guiding the school to 11 sectional championships and four consecutive Big 12 Conference titles (2004-07). Houpt's 1993 team placed ninth at state, and his 2003 squad was third. He resigned from tennis following the 2007 season.

Houpt's only official high school basketball coaching experience was a one-semester stint with Gene Gourley when one of the assistants was on military leave. However, Houpt has been coaching teams in the YMCA league.

"If you look from the outside, it looks like a curious hire," Luke said. "He doesn't have a lot of basketball coaching experience, but those in the school and the community know his background, his passion for basketball and where he fits in historically."

Until two years ago, Houpt was actively playing recreation basketball. He said when he entered the teaching profession, "I always assumed (coaching basketball) would happen." This is the first time he applied for the position.

"I've played competitively and watched it fanatically," said Houpt, the father of four. "The opportunity presented itself, and it started to feel right like it never did before."

His style of play, he said, will be based on "the talent we have and how we can best use it," but Houpt added, "I'd like to be uptempo and get up and down, but not be wild. We definitely want to have fun."

Houpt's dual-meet tennis record was 144-25 with winning seasons in 16 of his 17 years with the program. He also was the girls' tennis head coach in 2000-01 and directed them to a sectional crown.

No decision has been made on the rest of the basketball staff, but Houpt said "there are so many good basketball minds around, it won't be hard to find quality people."

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