Brehm stepping down from Greenwich boys basketball program

Former Greenwich High School head coach Bill Brehm during the 2014 CIAC class LL quarterfinal game against New Britain High School. — John Ferris Robben photo

Former Greenwich High School head coach Bill Brehm during the 2014 CIAC class LL quarterfinal game against New Britain High School. — John Ferris Robben photo

Whenever Greenwich High School’s Bill Brehm was walking the sideline as head coach of the boys basketball team, the opposition knew that they were in for a fight.

Brehm made it a top priority to get the absolute best out of his players, both during games and in practices.

However for Brehm, who started coaching Greenwich High back in 1991, those priorities have shifted a bit. With two children who have their dad’s passion for sports, Brehm will continue to walk the sidelines, but this time it’s going to be with his children by his side.

“I’ve been thinking about it ever since the end of the season,” Brehm said. “Any time you make a big decision in life, you list the pros and cons and I did that. I was thinking to myself that I am going to do three more years or I’m not going to do any. I don’t think I have three years in me and I am really enjoying coaching my kids in flag football and baseball. I love doing that and you never get those years back. I can always go back to coaching, but I can’t go back to when my kids were young. So I’m going to coach them.”

Earlier this week, Brehm let the GHS athletic department know that he will be stepping down from the program that he helped build into a contending team in the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference.

“I thought about it for a long time and I decided to do it now,” Brehm said. “I had a meeting with the kids about our team camp that we do every year and I’m going to still organize it this year. That should give us enough time to post for 30 days, have some interviews and get a coach in place by July. That way kids don’t miss a beat.”

While he still loves coaching, it’s now a completely new job than it was when he first started with Big Red over two decades ago. Gone are the days where basketball coaches had an offseason, as Brehm said that it’s become more of an every day position.

“The job is different than it used to be and it’s a year-round organizational thing,” Brehm said. “I just felt that if I couldn’t give the high school kids 100% of my time, then it wasn’t worth it for them and it’s not fair to them. I want to give somebody a chance that’s going to give it 100% during basketball season and as much as they can during the offseason. I wasn’t going to be able to do that anymore without my heart and my mind being somewhere else. I wasn’t going to be able to do that because I’m coaching my own kids.”

Brehm is leaving the program that’s been solid for countless seasons now. Brehm took the Cardinals to its first appearance in the FCIAC tournament over a decade ago. Greenwich battled Harding for the FCIAC championship in 2001-02 and won the FCIAC Western Division back in 2007-08.

Last season, the Cardinals started the season a perfect 14-0 and competed in the FCIAC championship game against Bridgeport Central as well as the semifinals of the CIAC class LL tournament against Fairfield Prep. In fact, 24-4 mark on the season was a school record and Brehm was named FCIAC Coach of the Year.

“Despite the great season we had, it’s not easy to leave the program because you’re still leaving great kids behind,” Brehm said. “While the win and loss record was good, I’m leaving hard-working, great kids behind. However, I do feel really good leaving on a high note and leaving the program in a good situation. We have some great young talent. Whoever comes in and takes it over will be very happy with the kids coming back.”

Brehm, who has been in the Greenwich High boys basketball family starting in 1991, has seen more ups than downs at the school. The first year that the Cardinals made the FCIAC tournament back in 1994 was when Brehm was the junior varsity coach was a special moment.

Also during the 2007 season when Greenwich upended St. Joseph High School 75-73 on their home court in Trumbull was a night Brehm won’t soon forget.

However when it comes to a season, Brehm doesn’t have to jog his memory too much. The 2014 Cardinals will be something the former GHS head coach will always talk about with a huge smile on his face.

“This year is going to be one of my brighter moments with the program, not only because of what we did during the season, but the kids that were involved in building the season to where it was,” Brehm said. “It feels great because, not only of what we did record-wise and how far we went into the tournament, but because the kids were great. That makes it all worth it. These kids have build chemistry and were doing this the right way. We have had really good kids before and we’ve have really good records, but this season we had both.”

Although Brehm isn’t going to patrol the sidelines for the Cardinals, that doesn’t mean the former coach won’t think about the program quite a bit, especially during hoops season in 2014-15.

“I’m going to miss it a lot,” Brehm said. “I’m going to miss the coaching and I’m going to miss the relationship with the kids. I’ll miss the friendships I have with the staff. I’ll miss the practices and the games. I thought about it a lot and went back and forth with it many times. In the end, I have to go with my guy feeling. I certainly don’t rule out coming back at some point.”

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