Dane Walter, a 2007 Sparta High School graduate who has been coaching boys basketball at Morrisonville High the last three years, was hired Monday night as the new coach at Waterloo.
Walter, who turns 26 on May 31, replaces C.J. Cruser, who resigned at the end of last season. The Bulldogs were 13-16 overall and 5-5 in the Mississippi Valley Conference.
“My wife (Marcea) and I have been talking about wanting to get back in the area, closer to home and family,” Walter said. “As soon as we saw the job posted, we sat down and I told her, ‘That’s the job I want.’ Waterloo has always been a desirable district; it’s an awesome school district. It just so happened there was a teaching position and head basketball (job), so it just worked out perfect.”
Walter will teach driver’s education.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to Belleville News-Democrat
Walter led Morrisonville to its first season with more than 15 wins since 1999-2000. The Mohawks finished 19-11 and won their first regional championship since 1979. It was Morrisonville’s first regional-championship appearance since 1990.
“I think that absolutely did help,” Walter said of Morrisonville’s success leading to the opportunity at Waterloo. “I think leaving somewhere is always difficult. I told my wife that after I sat the (players) down and told them that I wouldn’t be back, I would be OK if I never did that again. That’s never easy.
“But Waterloo is somewhere I want to be for a long time. It’s going to be a fun challenge I’m looking forward to. It will be definitely be a little bit different going from (Class) 1A to 3A, but that’s something I’m absolutely looking forward to.”
Walter, a graduate of Southern Illinois University Carbondale, said his preference is to play up-tempo.
“We’ll look to run if we can, but I want to have the kids understand that if we don’t have numbers, pull out and let’s run offense,” Walter said. “I want them to value every possession and take care of the basketball. Once we get everybody on the same page of making the right decisions, it’s going to be successful and a lot of fun. We look to build the program to where it’s consistent year in and year out.”
Walter will meet with the Waterloo players Tuesday. He will be in Waterloo to run the annual basketball camp June 8-11.