WEST CHICAGO — With his career aspiration to someday lead a college program, Paul Ferguson recently came across an opportunity he couldn’t pass up.
The Wheaton resident recently stepped down as Wheaton Academy’s varsity boys basketball coach to become an assistant coach for the Wheaton College men’s . He will continue to serve as a teacher and director of admissions at Wheaton Academy.
Ferguson, whose teams went 133-55 in his seven years at Wheaton Academy, was previously an assistant with the Thunder from 1999-2006. He will work under Mike Schauer, who was an assistant alongside Ferguson during the 1999-2000 campaign.
“I had an opportunity to go back to the college game,” Ferguson said, “and it seemed like the right time. Just the right place, right time.”
His job duties will be vast for a team that went 21-7 and made the NCAA tournament this winter while competing in one of the top Division III conferences in the nation.
“I’ll be working in all aspects of the program,” he said. “I feel like my expertise is on the offensive side so I will specifically be doing some things with the offense. I’ll also be doing some scouting and recruiting.”
While Ferguson is excited for the next step in his career path, moving on from the Warriors was a bittersweet moment.
“The hardest thing was telling the players,” the coach said. “I’ve built some great relationships with the players and their families over the last seven years. It was hard to tell them I wasn’t coming back. They were disappointed but supportive. I told them that sometimes in life, you have to make tough decisions.”
Ferguson does take solace in the fact that he leaves the program in great shape. The Warriors won five conference titles in his seven years and are currently on a run of four straight league championships.
“It’s been a great run,” Ferguson said, “and I’m proud of what our program has accomplished.”
Though he won’t be walking the Warriors’ sidelines next winter, Ferguson will still be around.
“I’ll still be watching the team and supporting the team,” he said. “I expect the tradition of excellence that we’ve established to continue. The next head coach will have a great opportunity to build off the success that we’ve had.”