A year ago, Darrin Wallace was thrilled to get the chance to coach at his old high school.
A year later, the former Cape Coral and FGCU hoops player is starting over again, this time with a Canterbury boys basketball program that hasn’t been a serious contender in a decade.
“It was very tough,” Wallace said of the decision to leave his alma mater at Cape Coral after one successful year. “They’ve got a really good group of kids over there (at Cape Coral), a real talented group of kids. I feel bad about it, but this was an opportunity I had to take.”
This opportunity involved a full-time teaching job, something Cape Coral couldn’t offer. Now Canterbury athletic director Marc Taglieri gets the coach he was eyeing last year, one he feels can resuscitate a team that has had one winning season in its last seven and dropped to 3-19 last year.
“Darrin eats, sleeps and breathes basketball,” said Taglieri of the coach who worked as an assistant at FGCU and as the top man at Gateway Charter before taking over at Cape Coral. “That’s important in this day and age. He understands the community, has worked in travel ball and in college, all the things we were looking for.”
Last year, Wallace helped the Seahawks improve from 13-11 to 16-10 with his emphasis on fast-paced offense fueled by an aggressive defense. Though he has yet to see his new players in action, he sees the potential for big things in Canterbury’s future.
“It’s a great academic institution,” Wallace said. “They have nice facilities, and Marc has done a good job of finding coaches that want to build the program. The potential is there.”
Wallace’s hiring is part of a small athletic overhaul by Taglieri, who took over just as school was getting started last August. It’s all part of an ambitious new era for Canterbury under Taglieri, who also serves as the school’s baseball coach.
“Long-term, just like with baseball, I want to be district and regional champions on a yearly basis,” Taglieri said.