The University of Wisconsin Mens Basketball Team is looking to start anew with Sundance Wicks. After firing the previous coach, UWGB is looking to Wicks to help the Phoenix rise again.
Sundance Wicks was hired by UWGB on March 14th. The hiring comes as UWGB looks to improve its men’s basketball team after finishing near the bottom of the Horizon League standings over the past three years. Wicks comes in with experience as a long-time assistant at Division I and II levels. His previous job was as the assistant coach at the University of Wyoming. While Wicks was on staff, the Cowboys reached the NCAA tournament in 2022 with a 25-9 record. Before Wyoming, he was the head coach at Missouri Western. Wicks had a head coaching record of 30-32, with his second season finishing 18-14 with a 12-1 home record. Wicks also has experience as an assistant coach at the University of San Francisco and Northern Illinois University.
Energy is a common theme for coach Wicks as “contagious energy” is one of the core values he highlighted in his introductory press conference stating, “We want every one of our players to find their own juice, their own spirit, and their own uniqueness.”
Sundance Wicks is also a family man. The first people he thanked at the introductory press conference were his parents, who taught him about “leading with love,” and his siblings, who ignited his desire for competition. He talked about how important the community is to him and that he is glad to be a part of the Green Bay community, where his wife and two children will be a part.
“Energy, enthusiasm, and connectivity are what we need here, and that is his strength.” UW-Green Bay Athletic Director Josh Moon responded with that quote about how coach Wicks’ vision aligns with what Moon wants to accomplish. Coach Wicks and Josh Moon are no strangers as they previously worked together at Northern State University, a division two college in South Dakota, from 2015-2018. Moon said that working with Wicks was “great.” Since their time at Northern State, Moon noted that Wicks “…still has the same energy he did, but has become more refined with his message.” Although their previous experience was positive, Moon didn’t let that be the only factor in the hiring process. “We wanted to first get somebody who checked all the boxes, and Sundance did. We probably had some people close, but that familiarity piece was that extra 5-10% that put him over the top.”
His impact on the team is already seen as Illinois prep star David Douglas Jr. who led the state of Illinois in scoring, becoming the first commitment of the Sundance Wicks era. When asked to describe coach Wicks in one word, Athletic Director Moon said “transformational” and noted that Sundance Wicks and television character Ted Lasso, a fictitious soccer manager, are similar in that they make everyone involved in the team believe in the future. “When he comes into the office, every person here will feel better, or when he comes into classrooms, students are going to feel better about their university… he’s going to make you believe.”
Many students and fans have their own perspectives on UWGB hiring Sundace Wicks. Jonas Kenusha, one fan of the UWGB men’s basketball team, said, “He brings a lot of energy that I think the last coach was lacking. He already seems to impact the fan base, and I think he can bring better chemistry to the team, which is crucial.”
Jaeden Langenberg, a UWGB men’s basketball fan, said, “He has the experience on and off the court and time spent competing against high-level teams. Hopefully, for Green Bay’s sake, this experience and talent transfers over and shows fast. There is a recurring pattern of the higher-ups at Green Bay and breaking contracts with head coaches or at least firing them before their contracts expire. All biases aside, Green Bay needs to make a change, and for the better, hopefully, Wicks fits the profile and brings that change.”
The hiring of Sundance Wicks will hopefully raise the winning percentage. No one can say for sure, but it has inspired much hope from the UWGB community.