Scott Leip stepped away as the varsity boys' basketball coach at his alma mater, Ashland High, in mid-March, perfectly content to guide his 9-year-old son Justin's travel team for the next few years.
But when the varsity position at nearby Wayland High recently became available, Leip was intrigued and he applied.
On Monday, the 36-year-old Leip accepted the job, replacing Dean Putnam, whose contract was not renewed after this past season.
"It's pretty common knowledge that my name was not out there for any other position," said Leip Monday evening. "I left Ashland not knowing what my next coaching position would be. To get back in, it had to be the right situation, the right time, and that happened in this case."
Leip, who compiled a sterling 126-66 mark in nine seasons on the Clocker bench, said he was "blown away" by the entire situation at Wayland, clearly impressed by the administration, faculty, coaches and the student body.
"Anyone who knows Wayland, knows how committed they are to the entire student experience," said Leip, "and the more people I talked to, I didn't hear anything negative. The athletic program, from swimming, to wrestling, to girls' basketball, and football. It's not just about qualifying for the state tournament."
His first concern, though, was at home, and receiving full support from his young family. "My wife [Ann-Marie] said, 'coaching's in your blood, and if it's a place that you can by happy, and the kids can have a great experience, then go do it," said Leip. "And over the last decade, my kids have really come to enjoy being around a baskeball program.
Throughout the interview process, he also felt that he and Wayland AD Martha Jamieson shared similar ideas on the direction of the program. "I got kind of spoiled with my mentor, 'Smokey' Moresi, at Ashland," said Leip. "I'm really looking forward toward working with Martha. She really gets it."
Though Leip will be transitioning from one Division 3 program to another, coaching in the Dual County League, which features a number of Division 1 and Division 2 programs, will be a major challenge.
"I spent nine years in the Tri-Valley League and I have a lot of pride in that league," said Leip, who led Ashland to three TVL titles. His only two losing seasons were his first and last. "But people tell me that the DCL is a better league, with better competition. I look forward to taking Wayland to the next level."
An outside salesman in the medical industry, Leip said the move to Wayland only added 10-12 minutes to the commute from his Ashland home.
Wayland was 9-12 last season, falling to Lynn Tech in the first round of the Division 3 North sectional.
-- Craig Larson
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