March 25 • 09:20 PM

New Imlay basketball coach eyes the future

July 01, 2009
IMLAY CITY — Don Gauthier says his goal as the high school's new varsity basketball coach will be less about winning immediately and more about developing a long term program for success.

Gauthier, 29, was named head varsity basketball coach Monday morning, succeeding Rick Finkbeiner. He was among six finalists interviewed by a committee consisting of high school Principal Stu Cameron, Athletic Director Steve Plunkitt, Asst. Supt. Jim Earley, Coach Pat Brown, Paul Druker and Tom Campbell. The committee's recommendation required the approval of the Imlay City Board of Education.

Cameron said Gauthier, who had been head basketball coach at Atherton High School during the past two years, emerged at the top of a list of 21 well-qualified candidates for the job.

Don Gauthier
"We had some outstanding applicants in the coaching pool," Cameron said. "There was a good variety with a wealth of talent and experience. Along with Don's basketball knowledge, he shares the same philosophy we do for the future of our athletic programs."

Having played against Imlay City basketball and football teams as a student at Brandon High School in the mid-1990s, Gauthier said he developed an appreciation and respect for the district's athletic programs.

"I was aware of Imlay City and its success in athletics," says Gauthier. "I realized it was a great opportunity and something I couldn't pass up. I'm looking forward to being a part of the school and the community."

Before serving as head coach at Atherton, Gauthier held positions as an assistant at Brandon High School and was head JV coach at Goodrich for four years. He competed as a player at NAIA Division II St. Mary's College in Orchard Lake.

Gauthier says his coaching philosophy is to get the most out of his players through hard work and total effort on the court. If that happens, he says, the wins will come.

"We like to play an up-tempo style," says Gauthier. "I like to press and I like forcing turnovers and getting the ball up the court for easy baskets.

"I expect the players to work as hard as they can every day. If they come to compete and do their best, everything else will take care of itself."

With an eye on teaching the fundamentals and building a program for the future, Gauthier says he plans to meet with the district's other basketball coaches to share ideas and find common ground. In addition to the high school, the district offers 7-8 grade, freshman and JV basketball programs.

"You have to teach the fundamentals to the youth and go from there," says Gauthier. "I like to watch the kids get better. That's why I love coaching."

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