Woodbury girls basketball: Armstrong's McGuire hired as head coach
Longtime District 833 educator Nathan McGuire has been hired as the new head coach of the Woodbury High School girls basketball program.
Since 1998 McGuire, a Cottage Grove resident, has taught kindergarten at Armstrong Elementary.
"I'm very excited to have this opportunity to work within the district and to take over this storied program," McGuire said. "There are high expectations here and it's great to be a part of this program."
McGuire said he believes he's "home" at Woodbury High School.
"I'm excited to be the face of the program, where I can work with these kids and get to know them all the way from a young age through high school," he said. "I've really never had that."
McGuire joins Woodbury after serving as the head coach of the Academy of Holy Angels girls basketball team for the past two seasons. Last year, the Stars finished 5-22 overall. He's also previously been the head girls coach at Henry Sibley and the Minnesota Business Academy. In addition to his basketball experience, McGuire has been a middle school track and field head coach in the district since 2001.
"We were extremely fortunate to get Nathan McGuire on board," Woodbury Activities Director Jason Gonnion said. "He's really excited. He's been a joy to get to know through the interview process. I think it's a great fit for our school and community."
Gonnion said what stood out most about McGuire was his passion for coaching student-athletes, his familiarity of the "tradition of excellence" surrounding the Woodbury girls high school basketball program.
"We had a number of conversations with quite a few people in the basketball community and there is really a high-level of respect for Nathan and the work that he has done," Gonnion said. "He's always been around the game, teaching and coaching girls basketball. We are very excited to have Coach McGuire lead the next era of our Royals girls basketball program."
McGuire takes over for Lionel Jones, who resigned from the position this summer. Jones served as the head coach for just one season, after longtime coach Dave Preller retired following the 2010 school year. Jones has been hired as the head girls basketball coach and as an adult education paraprofessional at Durand High School in Wisconsin.
"Lionel had a great opportunity for himself and his family," Gonnion said. "We're happy for them and wish him the best."
Gonnion said there was a "short timeline to find a high-quality replacement" but that he was "pleased with the number of individuals and experience levels of the applicant pool." Gonnion said he believed the storied history of Woodbury girls basketball attracted a large number of high-quality candidates. During Coach Preller's tenure, the Royals won 17 conference championships, 10 section championships and have one state championship - in 2003 - but also placed fourth, third and second in the state tournament as well.
"When you meet (McGuire), you can tell his desire to build on that tradition is very clear," Gonnion said. "From the kids, the parents and the school's perspective we're really excited to have him and to hit the ground running. We're looking forward to a great season."