New coach Kyle Johnsen has high hopes for the Greenfield boys basketball program.
'I looked at the whole program, and I know how successful it can be,' said Johnsen, who will take over for Jack Miller next season. 'I am from Greendale, so I know the Greenfield program like the back of my hand. These are hard-nosed, tough kids, and I am excited for the opportunity to build the program.'
The Hawks finished 3-20 last season but made improvements along the way and did win three of five games at one stretch.
'I think if we just believe in ourselves and work hard, this can be an exciting time,' Johnsen continued. 'We want to get the community excited and the kids excited.'
Johnsen was the head coach at West Bend West last season and directed the Spartans to a 9-14 overall mark and a 5-9 finish in the Wisconsin Little Ten Conference. That represented an improvement from 7-16 the previous season under another coach.
'We were without our best player for eight weeks, and we played a tough schedule, with Whitefish Bay, Marquette and Racine Horlick,' Johnsen said. 'I think the culture changed at West last season.'
Johnsen played three sports — basketball, football and baseball — at Greendale High School before graduating in 2006.
He also played the same three sports over his college career, which included the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and St. Norbert College, from where he graduated in 2012.
Participating in more than one sport is something he values in his players.
'The multiple-sport athletes, you know they are competitive and they hate to lose,' he said. 'They will work hard, and they know how to win. Each sport makes you better for the others.'
Johnsen later worked at Greendale High School as a varsity assistant and junior varsity coach in basketball under brother Ryan, the Panthers' head coach. Greendale went to the Division 2 State Tournament twice under Ryan and Kyle.
'Ryan has had and will continue to have a phenomenal run at Greendale,' Kyle said. 'He is a great coach. It was nice to have two basketball minds in the same house, and we talk with each other almost daily to compare notes.'
The two brothers will be on opposite sides when Greenfield meets Greendale next season, but Kyle is not making too big a deal out of that.
'It will be exciting,' he said about coaching against Ryan, 'but at the same time, it's just one of 22 games. It is not any bigger than any other. It will be fun for the family and the communities, though.'