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The City Journals

New coach hopes to build strong team both on and off court

Nov 29, 2016 03:42PM ● By Kelly Cannon

By Kelly Cannon | [email protected]

Cottonwood Heights

Brighton High School’s boys basketball team will see a new face on the sideline as Garrett Wilson takes over as the head coach. Wilson is replacing Jeff Gardner, who took the job of head coach at the new Skyridge High School in Lehi. In addition to coaching the boys basketball team, Wilson is also teaching the health science program and sophomore English at Brighton High School. 

Wilson comes from a tradition of basketball coaching. His father coached basketball at Cyprus High School for 20 years.

“Basketball was kind of life. I obviously would go to my dad’s games when I was little. I played throughout high school. I went to Bingham High School so Brighton was a big rival,” Wilson said.  “When I’d go to my dad’s games, Brighton always had tremendous teams. I remember when I first really started recognizing the game in the 1990s and seeing this Brighton team as being one of the best and has been for a really long time. That was part of the intrigue of this job as well.”

This will be Wilson’s 13th year coaching basketball. He got his start as an assistant coach at Bingham High School at age 18, right after he graduated. 

“I went right into the program. I was coaching the sophomore team a few months after I graduated,” Wilson said. “It was kind of a unique situation. I coached there for a long time.”

After Bingham, he coached as an assistant at West Jordan High School under Scott Briggs, whom Wilson considers to be one of the best coaches around. For the past two years, Wilson has been the head basketball coach at Taylorsville High School. 

When it comes to building a team, Wilson said it’s a multifaceted effort, looking for players who can bring something new to the table. 

“We’re looking for guys who can score. We’re looking for guys who can defend. We’re looking for guys who can rebound,” Wilson said. “There’s a lot of different aspects to the game to put the team together.”

Wilson said he and his assistant coaches aren’t just looking on the five best scorers or the five guys who can shoot the best — they’re also looking at the individual.

“We’re big into character and developing that through our program. That’s probably the most important aspect of sports. Guys with work ethic and guys who don’t cut corners. Guys who want to do things the right way,” Wilson said. “We really emphasize the academic side of things. Being an academic teacher, it’s really important to me that our guys are holding themselves to the same standards in the classroom as they are on the basketball floor.”

Wilson has a master’s degree in sports psychology and plans on hitting at the mental aspects of the game. 

“We really try to teach our kids to build a mental toughness to gain the competitive edge, being able to deal with adversity and being able to stay positive when most people go the opposite way,” Wilson said. “Focusing on the little details and controlling the little details they can control and the things they really focus on and try to emphasize.”

Through focusing on the mental side of the game, Wilson hopes the players build life skills and learn valuable lessons. 

“Philosophically, we’re all about developing kids, not cutting corners, kind of having that working-class mentality where great things are only going to happen through a lot of effort and the best things in life are going to happen through some hardships,” Wilson said. “It’s going to be hard to obtain success.”

Wilson said he’s really looking forward to the upcoming season and believes Brighton has a good, dynamic, multidimensional team. 

“All the pieces are there for us so it’s just to be seen if we can play out this season and put it all together,” Wilson said.