For the past five years, the Herndon High School boys basketball program has reached great success under coach Chris Whelan. He has won district titles, sent players to NCAA Division I colleges and created a famiy atmospere for the Hornet basketball program.
But the popular high school coach decided to hang up his whistle earlier this month to spend more time with his family and full-time business.
Whelan and his wife are expecting their first child, a baby girl, this August. The soon-to-be father said he is excited to have time now to spend with his wife and baby. He added that his business, Overtime Athletics, has expanded to the West Coast and obviously taken more of his time, as well.
“We’ve been around for 10 years and operate in 13 states and just opened a California office,” he said. “It’s all after school athletic programs for elementary schools. We work with 300-plus elementary schools nationwide.”
Whelan had a record of 78-37, during his five seasons at the helm. Many of those victories came during the 2009-10 seasons when Austin Hamilton, Jonathan Beltran and Raleigh McKenzie played for the Hornets.
“In their junior and senior years, we put together two back-to-back undefeated seasons,” Whelan said. “I don’t think that’s ever been done before. If you look at that group, we didn’t have a guy over 6-foot-one.”
Herndon High DSA Jonathan Frohm recalled seeing Whelan for the first time when he began coaching and substitute teaching, while Whelan played ball for the Hornets.
“Being able to see this guy come back as a grown man and coaching; I was impressed with the person Chris Whelan is,” said Frohm. “Being able to have him back there was a privilege and I was really impressed with his maturity and competitiveness. Basketball for the past five years has been nothing but fun.”
Frohm added that “the house is in order” thanks to Whelan, who has that competitive edge one needs to be successful. Frohm says replacing Whelan will not be a simple task. Yet he will go through the proper process to ensure the program stays on track.
“When you want to run a quality program, you want to have a procedure,” Frohm said. “You’ve got to recruit, hire and train and retrain coaches. And if you take any shortcuts in that process, you are only doing the kids a disservice.”
Whelan said he initially worried about the program falling back when he first took the job. Of course that never became the case. And instead Whelan created a booming program with quick, sure-fire shooters, who played smart basketball. The coach said he is proud to have continued the program’s success, in which he credits his current assistant coach Gary Hall with starting at Herndon High several years ago.
While Whelan said he will truly miss his Herndon Hornets, he has not shut the door completely, adding "I can always come back to coaching."