Doug Woodard retires at the top of Nebraska high school basketball – The Omaha News
Omaha News

Doug Woodard retires at the top of Nebraska high school basketball – The Omaha News

By: Mitchell Cutcher, Reporter

OMAHA, Neb. – For the last 25 years there has been one constant on the sideline at Bellevue West boys’ basketball games, Doug Woodard as the head coach for the Thunderbirds.

Coach Woodard announced after his team won their sixth state title with him at the helm that he had just coached his last game as the Bellevue West head coach and he will be retiring at the end of the school year.

In Woodard’s 25 years he has coached 25 players who went on to play college basketball. In recent memory he coached players such as Chucky Hepburn who now plays at Wisconsin, Frankie and Louis Fidler who play at Omaha.

The Thunderbirds are still producing talent and from this years’ team they have Josiah Dotzler who is committed to play at Creighton, and Jaden Jackson who is receiving division one interest.

Frankie Fidler (second from right) celebrates with his teammates after Bellevue West won the 2020 state championship (Photo courtesy Kayla Wolf/The World-Herald

“His mentality at practices and during games really wore off on me,” said former player Frankie Fidler. “He helped my work ethic grow and for me to become the player I am today.”

With the number of players that he has helped go on to play at the next level, coach Woodard was able to see a pair of them go head to head against each other.

At the end of the season South Dakota State and Omaha were playing against each other and the Thunderbird basketball team was in attendance to see two former players. William Kyle III played for the Jacks and Frankie Fidler played for the Mavericks.

Doug Woodard is retiring after 25 years as the boys’ basketball coach at Bellevue West (Photo courtesy The World-Herald)

“It is very rewarding,” said Woodard on being able to see two former players play against each other. “We took the team over, because most of those had been teammates with both of those guys and all of them had been teammates with William. So, it was almost surreal seeing them out there on the court, battling each other.”

During one point in the game Kyle scored on Fidler and Woodard recalled that moment with a smile on his face and said he was sure that there was some friendly banter being shared by the two players.

Next up in life for coach Woodard will be spending time with his 13 grandchildren. To be a coach at the top level of high school basketball in Nebraska it requires a high level of energy and for Woodard he is ready to slow down. He is excited for this next chapter in life and watching his grandchildren play sports of their own.

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