By Matt Nestor
Prep Sports Reporter
The Rockford Guilford Vikings have hired a new boys’ basketball coach, and they are going back to the future with the move.
Dean Martinetti, who took the Vikings to back-to-back regional championships in 2006 and 2007, will be taking over as the basketball coach, replacing Bobby Heisler on the sidelines.
The Vikings have fallen on tough times in recent years, culminating in a 1-15 run through the NIC-10 this past season.
“We’re going to try to make progress,” Martinetti said. “I’m going to try to lead them to a spot where they can compete, and start with that.”
Martinetti has been a part of a lot of successful teams in his time coaching in the area. He started coaching at Rockford Jefferson in 1995, taking them to a regional championship in 2000.
He also helped build a strong program in Byron, as well as being on the sidelines as an assistant the last few seasons at Rockford Lutheran, including in 2012 when they made a run to a third-place finish in the IHSA Class 2A finals.
Martinetti points to his time at Lutheran helping Head Coach Tom Guse as a big factor in to his philosophies now as he returns to the top job in a program.
“Being around coach Guse the last couple of years has helped me understand what it’s all about,” he said. “You try to do your job, but you try to have some fun while doing it.”
For the district, the hiring sticks with the theme from other hires made around the district, pulling in coaching talent that has previous championship experience to lead their programs.
“He’s been very successful everywhere he’s been,” said Mat Parker, director of athletics for Rockford Public Schools. “He’s a great teacher of the game and developing the complete student athlete.”
Martinetti, who was already a health teacher at Guilford, understands the challenges that await the Guilford program that has fallen on tough times. But he hopes that improving on the fundamentals of the game can help the Vikings bounce back quickly as they rebuild the talent.
“I like to think we can get the guys to play real hard and do the things that don’t necessarily take talent,” Martinetti said. “We talk a lot about just being the best you can be.”
From the May 1-7, 2013, issue