A fixture in local prep sports for decades, Bill Wade, who has led the Lady Blue Devils for five years, announced last night that he's retiring from basketball coaching.
Wade made his announcement during the annual girls banquet at Bohn's Restaurant.
Besides Batavia, Wade has coached at Byron-Bergen, Notre Dame and SUNY Brockport.
In 1984, he led Byron-Bergen to the state's final four, and did it three more times with Notre Dame.
“When I took the job at Batavia five years ago," he told WBTA, "I took it over with the challenge of building the program. I felt that we’ve been very successful in that because I’ve had Marty Hein and John McClellan to help me and the kids have been great. I just reached a point where it’s time to step aside. You have to do the off season work and the off season work takes a lot of time. I want to spend more time with my wife and actually head into a retirement.”
Wade has seen a lot change in prep sports since the 1980s.
"When I first coached at Byron-Bergen, there was no three-point line and the girls played with a guy’s ball," Wade said. "What I’ve always loved about the girls game is that I find it a very pure game of basketball. I think girls basketball is how James Naismith planned it to be when he came up with the game years and years ago and that it to be played below the rim.”
Wade led Batavia to the program’s first-ever appearance in the Section Five finals this year. He plans on following the girls' basketball careers.
“I told the girls, I am no longer yelling at you, I will only be yelling for you because I will be in the crowd for several of their games – as many games as my wife and I can make," he said. "I’ve been a coach of this game for so long, I’m really looking forward to becoming a fan of the game.”
Wade's successor has not yet been named.
Photo: File photo