South Walton tabs Mosley Assistant Gilbert as Coach
Steven Gilbert had a long list of reasons he wanted to be South Walton’s boys basketball coach.
There was the winning tradition, the returning players and the chance to be a varsity head coach.
But then he got to the deciding factor.
“Who wouldn’t want to live on the beach?” he appropriately asked.
No, that’s not the main reason Gilbert accepted the open position, created by John Davies’ resignation. He touted what Davies and the Seahawks did two years ago, when South Walton won the Region 2-1A championship and reached the state semifinals.
“It’s a huge upside,” Gilbert said, “because not only am I getting to rebuild a great program but I’m getting to build from a great coach.”
The 26-year-old Gilbert cannot be hired until July, when teaching and school district contracts from the previous year end and new ones begin. Gilbert will be South Walton’s recommendation to the Walton County School District.
“He embodies the principles we hold important,” South Walton athletic director Phil Tisa said. “Everyone does basketball in the summer, so we needed to get someone soon. Another big thing is he plans to stick around.”
Gilbert spent two years as an assistant coach for Chiles’ varsity girls team and one year as an assistant for the Mosley boys team. He has coached the Showtime Hoops AAU 12-and-under and 16-and-under boys teams for seven years. But this will be his first high school varsity head coach position.
“You’re coaching great talent and helping them get to where they want to be,” Gilbert said. “I want to have a winning season. (I want to) compete for a district championship. It’s more of a rebuilding year, but I still want us to compete.”
South Walton finished 14-9 two seasons ago and won the District 4 title. The Seahawks finished 8-17 last season and missed the postseason. They also graduate Paxton Dixon, a Daily News Fab Five pick.
Returning varsity players, according to the Maxpreps.com roster, are rising seniors L.J. Chastain, Chris Gastauer, Jack Mathews, Josh McGrath and Isaac Nielson. Rising juniors Jeremiah Crittenden and Devan Welch also might be on the roster. McGrath is a 6-foot, 7-inch center.
“I’m going to develop his framework so not only can he play three different positions, but will go to the next level,” Gilbert said. “Colleges love tall kids, and 6-7 is not bad.”