Western boys basketball coach Andy Weaver became a rising star in his profession by leading the Panthers to six Class 3A sectional championships and a regional title over the last 10 years and by serving as an assistant coach with the 2010 Indiana All-Stars.
Plainfield took notice.
The Quakers, looking to rebound following a 1-20 season, targeted Weaver for their job. He accepted and was approved at a school board meeting Monday night.
“We became aware of the opportunity in March, the Tuesday after [Western] played in the regional. They let me know that they had an opening and wanted to know if I was interested,” Weaver said. “At that point, I wasn’t really looking to move, but they were able to have me down to take a look at some things. I obviously found a lot of things that I thought were attractive.”
Weaver, 45, likes Plainfield’s growing community and proximity to Indianapolis. He also noted Plainfield in 2008 built a new high school with a 3,500-seat gymnasium. An adjacent fieldhouse features four full courts along with other amenities.
And, then there is the weight room.
“I have not seen a weight room like theirs. It’s 7,000 square feet and they have a full-time strength and conditioning coach with 19 years of experience,” Weaver said.
Weaver noted Plainfield’s schools all are highly regarded. Weaver and his wife are both teachers and they have three young children.
“It’s just a great fit for my family,” he said.
Weaver enjoyed a great run at Western, compiling a 207-132 record in 15 seasons — including a 166-67 showing over the last 10 seasons during which time the Panthers won six Mid-Indiana Conference titles along with the aforementioned postseason success.
The Panthers went 23-3 in 2003-04, winning their first and only regional title and setting a school record for wins.
“I’m proud of our kids and our program. It’s not easy to say goodbye to Western,” he said.
Weaver thanked his players, both past and present, for their commitment to winning. He noted the chance to build relationships with players is his favorite part of coaching.
Weaver also made a point to thank past and present assistant coaches, student managers, stat keepers, parents, athletic directors and principals.
“I never thought I’d leave Western, but I now turn from Western’s head coach to their biggest fan. I want nothing more than for the Western boys basketball program to go to an even higher level,” he said.
“It’s been a great ride. It’s something that I will always cherish.”
First-year Western athletic director Ryan Berryman knows Weaver will be hard to replace.
“Obviously, he has been a pillar of the community for the last 15 years. His success speaks for itself,” Berryman said. “I’ve really enjoyed getting to know Andy and developing that bond and friendship. He is a class act off the court as well as on it.
“Obviously, it’s a huge loss for us, to lose a guy who has invested that much time in creating an environment for success. He has left the program in a good position and we’ll pick up and move forward, but he’ll be sorely missed.”
Weaver will have his work cut out for him at Plainfield. The Quakers have endured three straight losing seasons capped by the 1-20 showing.
Plainfield won the Class 3A state championship in 1999, but it moved up to Class 4A the following year and since has been a non-factor in the tournament.
“I’m not afraid of challenges,” he said. “Obviously, I had roots at Western. I really thought I might be there for my whole career. But, this opportunity is exciting.”
Known for his meticulous scouting and preparation, Weaver quickly ran down the Quakers’ Mid-States Conference and sectional opponents.
“I obviously have some new teams that I’m going to have to learn a lot about. But, that is exciting for me,” he said.
Berryman is in the process of finding a new football coach. Now, he has a basketball vacancy, too.
Berryman said the school will need to post the coaching opening for at least 10 days and then “we’ll try to move quickly to go through the interview process and try to put a coach in front of our players going into summer.”
Western under Andy Weaver:
• Record: 207-132 in 15 seasons overall — 166-67 over final 10 seasons. Weaver is Western’s all-time winningest coach.
• State tourney success: Weaver has been Western’s only coach in the class tournament era. He led the Panthers to Class 3A sectional titles in 2003, ’04, ’06, ’07, ’11, ’12 and a Class 3A regional title in 2004. The regional title was a first for Western.
• Conference success: Outright Mid-Indiana Conference titles in 2004, ’05, ’09 and ’12. Shared titles in ’07 and ’11. Western had won just one outright MIC title before Weaver’s arrival.