Once a Bulldawg, always a Bulldawg.
Less than a week after being named the boys’ basketball coach at Cherokee High School, Paul Wiedeman has had a change of heart.
A veteran of 16 seasons at his alma mater, Wiedeman resigned from that position and has sent a request to the Haddonfield board of education to rescind his resignation, according to Haddonfield athletic director Lefteris Banos.
The board meeting is scheduled for Thursday, May 28.
“It’s a delicate matter, a delicate process,” Banos said Tuesday afternoon. “Out of respect for the Lenape school district and Cherokee High School, this is not something anyone wishes on anybody.
“I support Paul’s request to rescind his resignation and the board will make the decision.”
“The official statement by Lefty on my rescinding of resignation for the May 28 board meeting is all I can say on this matter,” Wiedeman said via text message Tuesday afternoon.
According to multiple sources, current Schalick coach Eric Cassidy is now believed to be the leading candidate at Cherokee.
Wiedeman originally stepped down last week, effective June 30, from teaching and coaching positions at Haddonfield. He was approved to replace Matt Shultz at Cherokee last Wednesday.
Banos said no interviews had been conducted to replace Wiedeman.
Cherokee is now left without a coach. Athletic director Scott Agnew was unavailable for comment.
“It’s one of the most difficult decisions I’ve had to make in my life,” Wiedeman said after being approved last week. “It’s part of my DNA. To go to Haddonfield, grow up in that community, play for my father and then have the opportunity to take over the program … It’s one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve ever had.
“The kids in Haddonfield are very special to me; they’re very unique. They compete, work hard. Every moment, I enjoyed being around them. That was the hard part.
“It would take a very unique situation to do that, and Cherokee is that. I seized the opportunity and now I’m the head coach at Cherokee. It sounds different but that’s where we are.”
Wiedeman was slated to become a health/physical education teacher at Cherokee in addition to his coaching position.
“I don’t know if there’s a bigger name in South Jersey basketball,” Shultz said last week. “There are a lot of quality names, but he’s right up there with anybody that you could have brought in.”
Wiedeman was to take over a Cherokee team that finished 19-10 last season, was No. 9 in the final Courier-Post Top 15 and played in its second straight South Jersey Group 4 final. The opportunity to take over a larger program that’s part of the ultra-competitive Olympic Conference was something Wiedeman said drew his interest.
“It’s my coaching progression; this is the next step,” he said. “You’re a competitive person and sometimes I got to play outside of the (Colonial) conference. Now I’ll go up against the best teams, best coaches and match wits with the best coaches in South Jersey and the state. That’s a very intriguing possibility that now came true.
“Playing in the (Olympic) was a very motivating factor; to play teams night in and night out.”
At Haddonfield, Wiedeman posted a 373-90 record – the 19th best win total in South Jersey history. He’s the winningest coach in Bulldawgs’ history.
He directed the ‘Dawgs to three straight Group 2 state titles (2004-06) with Duke-bound 7-footer Brian Zoubek leading the way. Wiedeman’s teams also won five South Jersey crowns and 10 Colonial Conference championships.
Haddonfield went 23-7 this past season, losing to state finalist Camden in the South Jersey Group 2 final. The Bulldawgs finished No. 8 in the Courier-Post Top 15.
Wiedeman was an assistant at West Deptford for four seasons before replacing Phil Smart at Haddonfield for the 1999-2000 season. He defeated the Eagles for his first win, along with his 100th and 300th career victories.
As a player, Wiedeman was the point guard on Haddonfield’s 1989 team that finished 31-1 and won the Group 1 state title.
Kevin Minnick; (856) 486-2432; email@example.com