Bob Wellman witnessed the success of Brighton’s girls’ basketball program firsthand.
“I handed them the cup two years ago when I hosted them,” Wellman said.
Wellman was the sporting director at Ann Arbor Skyline, which hosts the 2021 district championship, when Brighton won the third of their four consecutive championships.
He will now attempt to maintain post-season success as the Bulldogs’ new head coach.
Wellman replaces Paul Ash, who resigned after setting the record 133-45 in the past eight seasons.
“I’m itching to go back to training,” said Wellman, 52, who lives in Brighton. “I saw this job open. I thought I’d look into it to see what direction they’re looking at. I train girls who want to work hard and want to succeed and they’re going to do what they can to do that.”
“That’s something Coach Ash has instilled into this program. It’s an exciting program for me to try and see if we can continue to be successful and go a little further, I hope.”
Before becoming athletics director and assistant manager at Skyline, Wellman coached girls’ basketball at Midland Dow for 12 seasons through 2014. The Chargers were 203-68 with four district championships and a trip to the state quarterfinals in 2010.
“We are delighted to have a coach at Bob Wellman who brings expertise, not only in the game of basketball, but also in the education and life skills that we believe will allow us to continue a strong tradition of excellence, both on and off the field,” said John Thompson, Brighton Sports Director.
While Wellman was ready to let go of the long days of being a manager, he was eager to get back into the daily interaction of coaching young athletes. In his role as athletic director, he was not allowed to coach.
“I’ve spent 30 years in education,” he said. “I think the last two years with COVID have affected me a lot in this job. I thought it was time to start something new. Not sure what this is. Then came the opportunity to coach. I got a little excited about coaching when I started helping out a little bit when I could with kids Skyline. You never lose the passion for training and seeing kids succeed and grow, so I went for it.”
Wellman’s initial interactions with the players in Brighton were just what he expected after watching from a distance while the Bulldogs raced on the Skyline.
“The girls who came to open gyms have come to work,” he said. “You can ask them to do something, they’ll go and do it. They’re a fun group. I feel like we’ve had a fun atmosphere so far. It’s a good, hard-working atmosphere.
“We are preparing for some group camp and shooting. We will get to know each other. They will get to know me and my philosophies as I get to know their abilities as a basketball player.”
Wellman said he will make his own mark on the show, though he doesn’t expect drastic changes.
“Some of the philosophies that Ash had for Philosophy Coach are similar to what I have, just from what I’ve seen,” Wellman said. “I’ve learned a little bit more every day. I hope to put a stamp on it and this team will be successful. They have won county by county. They’ve had some chances to reach the regional finals. Obviously we’re hoping to get through that and get to the next stage.”
Contact Bill Kahn at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @BillKhan.