The following coaches have made great contributions to Vermont Basketball.
Through their coaching expertise, their sportsmanship, love of the game, and concern
for their players and fellow workers, they have MADE BASKETBALL BETTER in Vermont. We would like to remember them on this website.
Dave Blake L. Leonard Drew Lou Seier
Edward J. Burke    

Robert "Stretch" Gillam, 1934-2017 --

Born in Rutland, VT He graduated from MSJ in 1954 where he excelled in sports. As a senior, MSJ was state champs and went to the New England Tournament at Boston Garden. He did a prep year at Kimball Union, served in the US Army and attended University of Georgia.

Stretch began his coaching career at KUA coaching football and baseball; he coached at Hartford , Oxbow, Green Mtn and Hanover. In his long career he won over 600 games, was inducted into the VBCA and New England Hall of Fame. He was very active in the VBCA and helped make Basketball Better in Vermont.

Coach Jim Bashaw

Coach Bashaw was the head girls' basketball coach at Bellows Free Academy in St, Albans from 1981 - 1995. In his 14 seasons, Coach Bashaw won two state championships and his team made the "Final Four" nine times. Coach Bashaw touched many lives, and none more than those that had the privilege of playing for a man that loved life and lived with remendous enthusiasm and faith. He was a dedicated professional always looking to improve and learn while bringing out the best in others. Coach Bashaw also was the father of two boys who he loved dearly and a wonderful husband to his wife and best friend, Shari. Coach Bashaw served the St, Albans community in numerous ways and his legacy will certainly live on through his wife and sons. Coach Bashaw always found a way to teach his players not only to be successful as ball players, but he taught them how to be successful in life. His energy and infectious smile will always lie on in the lives of those who knew him.

Frank Bizzarro May 12, 1935- January 9, 1999

Frank was a 1953 Mount Saint Joseph Academy of Rutland graduate. He received his bachelor of science in education from Castleton State College in 1957. Frank excelled in basketball at both schools and is a member of the Castleton Athletic Hall of Fame. Frank taught social studies for 40 years and coached basketball for 35 years. He coached at Bennington Catholic High School, Mount Anthony Union High School, Mount Saint Joseph Academy, Brattleboro High School, Lake Region Union High School, and North Country Union High School. Frank retired in 1997. He excelled at developing basketball programs that had been "down". In his career he won 2 state championships (Bennington Catholic) and brought five divisions I schools to the final four. Frank was Vermont coach of the year in 1965 and in 1980 coached the Vermont Alhambra team to a victory over New Hampshire in the first game of the series.

David Blake January 1950-May 2012

Coach Blake began his coaching career at the Junior Varsity level at Burr and Burton Academy in 1973. He took over the Varsity team and proceeded to win a State Championship in 1979. There were three more to follow in 1981, 1983 and 1984.
In 1987, Dave accepted a position as an assistant men’s basketball coach at St Michaels College in Colchester, Vt. Two years later, he moved to Champlain College in the same position.
In 1993, Coach Blake became the head coach at Castleton State College. In five years, he rebuilt the men’s basketball program into a competitive one that earned a spot in the NAIA National Basketball Tournament.
In 1998, Dave joined the staff of Mill River Union High School, where he was an Athletic Director, Social Studies teacher and assistant girl’s basketball coach. He retired in 2008.
Coach Blake received several awards during his career, including Vt. Division 11 Coach of the Year, Marble Valley League Coach of the Year, Head Alhambra Coach in 1984, Assistant Coach in 2000 and Hall of Fame honor from Burr and Burton Academy.
Dave impacted hundreds of people throughout his life and will be missed. Dave was a Coach who preached positive thinking, helped his players achieve success and demanded a supreme effort at all times. But, he will always be remembered for his care and concern for his players and students.

Edward J. Burke--May 25, 1929-June 9, 2000

Started at Winooski High School in 1959 and won 4 state class I championships 1959-1963. Only coach to win a state title in each of his first 4 years of coaching. Went to 2 New England High School Tournaments with Winooski and won the New England in 1962. He then went to Burlington High School where he won class I state championships in 1969, 1972, 1973, and 1977. Was coach of the year in 1972 and past president of the coaches association. His teams were in the state finals 10 years. Ed coached for 18 years and retired in 1977.
Coach Bernie Cieplicki "Coach Cieplicki

Coach Bernie Cieplicki was the head boys' basketball coach at Rice Memorial High School from 1960-1978. He established Rice as a perennial power leading the "Little Indians" to 317 wins and 3 state championships in his tenure as coach. Coach Cieplicki had tremendous love for the game of basketball and was a committed man who cared deeply for his players. He was an outstanding teacher of the game and had a great mind for basketball. Coach Cieplicki was also a devoted family man and dedicated to the youth of Vermont, being instrumental in founding both the Catholic Youth Organization (C.Y.O) basketball leagues in the state of Vermont as well as the Burlington International Games (B.I.G.). Coach Cieplicki's legacy is now being carried on by his son Kevin, who is presently the head coach at Rice memorial. Kevin's team was the 1999-2000 state champions. Coach Bernie Cieplicki's wife, Christine, continues to be an avid supporter of Rice Basketball.
Joe Corey June 7, 1958-January 9, 2002

Joe Corey was the head Boys' basketball coach at Arlington High School from 1992-2002. In addition to that, he was the Boys' Varsity Assistant for 6 years from 1986-1992. Coach Corey won the Division III State Championship in 1998, and reached the Final Four on 5 occasions. Coach Corey was a 1976 graduate of Arlington High School, where he played on the Varsity Basketball team for 3 years. Coach Corey amassed over 150 wins during his 10 years of coaching. He was named MVL "C" division Coach of the Year 4 times and was Vermont's Nominee for National Federation Coach of the year in 2000. Coach Corey had a strong passion for basketball and was known as a coach who took care of his players.
L. Leonard Drew January 10, 1930-February 14, 2001

Levi Leonard “Lenny” Drew was born on January 10, 1930 in Hanover New Hampshire. He attended school in Bradford Vermont where he was a star athlete. He graduated from Bradford Academy in 1948 and pursued his life long dream of attending the University of Notre Dame. Lenny attended Notre Dame University from where he was awarded a B.S. in Physical Education in 1952 and M.A. in Education in 1955. Between earning his degrees he served a stint as a captain in the U.S. Marine Corps. Lenny returned to Vermont in 1955 where he accepted a teaching and coaching position at illiamstown High School. While at Williamstown he coached cross-country, basketball and baseball, and led the basketball team to a record of 49-18. After 3 years at Williamstown Lenny left to accept a position at Lyndon State College. At Lyndon State College he was a three-sport varsity coach and served as Director of Athletics and Physical Education from 1958-62. Len guided the athletic program as Lyndon expanded upon its three sports offering. While coaching soccer, basketball, and baseball, he added skiing and track and field to the intercollegiate program. Under his direction, Lyndon also became an active member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. Lenny left Lyndon in 1962 to take a position at St. Johnsbury Academy, where he would spend the next six years. While at the Academy, he compiled some impressive basketball and golf coaching records and noteworthy honors. His basketball coaching record while at St. Johnsbury was 60-58. In 1968 he moved to Montpelier to accept his final coaching and teaching position. He coached basketball at Montpelier High School from 1968 until his retirement after the 1990-1991 season. While at Montpelier he compiled a record of 274-217. His overall basketball record was 419-341, covering Williamstown High School, Lyndon State College, St. Johnsbury Academy, and finally Montpelier High School. Of the 31 High School boys basketball teams he coached, 25 qualified for the State Tournament. Two teams played for the State Title, seven were semifinalists and eight made it to the quarterfinals. He won three basketball League Coach of the year awards and won four league titles. Of all his accomplishments he was most proud of the following: In 1970 he was named Vermont Coaches Association “Coach of the Year”, and in 1988 was named the Vermont Boys Basketball Coaches Association “Coach of the Year”. Lenny was also a past President of Vermont Coaches Association and was the founder and past President of Vermont Boys Basketball Coaches Association. He was also a member of the Basketball Committee of the Vermont Headmasters Association. During he free time, he was the co-director of the Vermont State Elks ”Hoop Shoot” Foul Shooting Contest.

Edward J. Hockenbury "Coach Hock"--June 5, 1942-September 26, 1996

Ed Hockenbury will long be remembered as one of the finest college coaches in Vermont basketball history. The all-time winnings coach at Norwich University, Hockenbury led the Cadets at the only two NCAA Tournament appearances in their history. Following his 17 years at Norwich, Hockenbury enjoyed two years as the assistant coach at Middlebury, working with his dear friend, Head Coach Russ Reilly. He then moved on to Vermont Technical College, where he guided the men's team to a national tournament appearance in only his second season at helm. He also coached baseball at both Norwich and VTC. Prior to coaching in Vermont, Hockenbury was an assistant basketball coach at Georgetown, West Point, and Villanova. Hockenbury grew up the youngest of seven children in Philadelphia. An outstanding all around athlete, he particularly excelled in baseball and basketball. After playing high school ball at Cardinal Dougherty, Hockenbury attended the Naval Academy Prep School, before being lured off to Boston College on a basketball scholarship offered by NBA legend, and BC coach at the time, Bob Cousy. Hockenbury played for four years under Cousy at BC, led them to the NIT Tournament, and captained the Eagles as a senior. Hockenbury was also the catcher on the baseball team at BC for two years, and threw the javelin for the track team. His talents on the basketball court, as well as his all around athletic ability, led to his enshrinement in the Boston College Hall of Fame in 1996. Hockenbury passed away in 1996 after a courageous two-year battle against brain cancer. He is remembered not only as a great coach, but more importantly, as a wonderful friend and family man who always had a big smile and a kind word for everyone. While his coaching positions in Vermont were at the college level, Hockenbury was a friend and a valuable asset to Vermont high school basketball coaches. He was always willing to share his knowledge, and his appearances at coaching clinics and camps were a valuable resource. No one loved the game more than "Hock," and his presence in our coaching community is greatly missed.
Dean W. Houghton Jan. 28, 1926 - Sept. 2, 1997

A long time coach and principal. Dean had a tremendous influence on basketball in Vermont. He started out as a physical education teacher at Poultney High School 1952-1962. He coached basketball 1952-65, basketball 1952-65 and football 1952-1975 at Poultney. He was Basketball State Championships in 1962, 1963 and 1965. He was also Vermont coach of the yea in 1963 and 1968. In 1967 he received the Ralph LaPonte award for outstanding contribution to Vermont sports. When Dean stopped coaching he still was deeply involved in basketball and high school athletics. He served from 1962-1990 in the Vermont Head Master's Association (Vermont Principals Association). For 28 years Dean was on the V.P.A. Basketball Committee and was responsible for much of the basketballs' growth in popularity. He was the principal of Mill River form 1975-1990. Received the VT Principal of the year award in 1980 and in 1994 he received the Marble Valley League Lifetime contributions award. Dean was one of the few administrators who was not only deeply involved in administrating athletics but also cared greatly about the coaches and students involved in the game.

Lou Seier 1949-2008

Lou Seier was the girls varsity basketball coach at Black River High School from 2004-2008, before that he coached J.V. boys basketball at Black River and junior high boys at Black River. Lou also coached many years of AAU Basketball with boys and girls. Lou had a passion for the game and the players he coached over the years; he considered the girls his second family. Lou was from the Philadelphia area where he attended school and college. Coach Seier was a loving family man and a wonderful husband to his wife and best friend Wendy, he was the father of two wonderful kids, a daughter and a son. He loved his children very much and was always talking about them. Lou was a coach and a family man who loved both his basketball family and his blood family.

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