In just three seasons, Menomonie High head boys’ basketball coach Levi Massey turned around an ailing program that went winless during its 2008-09 campaign. Massey took over the program at the start of the 2009-10 season, and the team steadily improved each season, resulting in a 10-13 record and third-place (tie) Big Rivers Conference finish last winter.
That success led to Massey being offered a position at Lakeland Union High School where he will be coaching next season.
Massey said the decision to make the move was met with mixed emotion.
“My wife (Katie) and I have invested a lot into the Menomonie basketball program and are very proud of what has been accomplished in three years. But we feel that the opportunities ahead of us in Minocqua are extremely exciting and positive.”
Massey takes over a program that has been captained for the last 38 years by Coach Ted Voigt, who announced his retirement in May. The Thunderbirds have had winning records nine of the last 10 seasons, including a four-season stretch from the 2003-04 season to the 2006-07 season where they went 41-9.
Massey said he’s not only excited to take over a strong program, but is “extremely impressed with the facilities at LUHS” and met some great people during his visit.
Menomonie High marked Massey’s first head varsity coaching gig, and he leaves the school with a 15-55 career record and a team academic all-state honor following the 2011-12 season. He was also selected as an assistant coach for the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association Division 2 All-Star game that took place last month – in which his North team lost 98-79 to the South despite a 20-point effort by Rice Lake’s Wally Ellenson.
“I am grateful for having had the opportunity to coach basketball at Menomonie,” Massey said. “I was very lucky to work with an outstanding athletic director in Mr. Bart Boettcher.”
The admiration was mutual, as Boettcher said, “Coach Massey did an outstanding job in his time here at MHS. The basketball program has improved each year under his leadership. Last year’s academic all state honors are a direct reflection of the leadership coach Massey has provide. He has a passion for the sport of basketball.”
Massey said the key components to the program’s turnaround included assistant coach Matt Riley’s dedication to the program, positive energy surrounding the basketball community – from youth coaches to parents and even grandparents – and the increased number athletes competing for spots.
“I am leaving behind a talented group of returning letterwinners and talented newcomers who should keep the program moving in the right direction.”
Massey said he has met several “outstanding young men of character” as well as outstanding parents and community members who have supported him, the school district and its students.
“Everything you do in life shapes who you are, and I have been able to mold myself based upon the reflections of my interactions with these fine people,” said Massey.